Volume 25, Issue 29 (July 16, 2023)
From Confusion to Peace
By Kyle Pope
You don’t have to look very far in the world around you to see that most people live their lives ruled by a sense of chaos. They might not recognize that this is the case, but if they stopped and honestly looked at their lives from the outside they would have to admit that they are controlled by the ebb and flow of emotions, finances, illness, disaster, or even the desire for pleasure, recognition, glory, or satisfaction. None of us are free from the hardships of life, but the Christian has something to which he or she can cling that the world does not have: a sense of direction.
You see the Bible tells us that as a result of sin entering the world chaos, corruption, and decay rule the natural world. The preacher, in the book of Ecclesiastes declared that “time and chance” plague all things under the sun (Eccl. 9:11). Paul told the Romans that the creation is in “bondage to corruption” (Rom. 8:21). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us that in this world “moth and rust destroy” things which we might hold dear (Matt. 6:19). For Christians, however, there can be a tangible sense of direction that comes from choosing to look beyond the physical world and aim towards a home in heaven with God. In this home, the Bible tells us “neither moth nor rust destroy, and . . . thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20, NKJV).
The Christian can also have a sense of direction when it comes to how life ought to be lived. The Christian believes that the Bible is not merely an old book full of interesting stories. The Christian holds that it is actually the revelation of the Spirit of God given to mankind for his guidance and direction. When the Christian submits himself to it’s rule, he allows himself to be led by the very mind of God. This is what it means to be “led by the Spirit” (cf. Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). This can be a comforting thing. When a difficulty arises in life and we must choose one way or the other, the Christian’s choice is often made ahead of time by the principles of Scripture. He or she doesn’t have to worry and fret about what to do—God’s word points the way to the best possible choice.
Some might call this a “crutch” and say they would prefer their own freedom of choice. Everyone loves freedom, but who knows better how I should live my life than the very One who made me? David said:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways (Ps. 139:1-3).
In addition to this, the Bible reveals that no one is ever truly free. All of us are either “slaves of sin” or we are “slaves of God” (Rom. 6:15-23). Submission to the will of God liberates us from the chaos and destruction that sin holds over our lives.
The Bible tells us that when people choose not to “retain God in their knowledge” they actually come to think about things in ways that are contrary to their very nature. Romans 1:28 speaks of such people as being given over to a “debased mind.” In such a state they are described as being “futile in their thoughts” (Rom. 1:21). To the Ephesians, Paul spoke of such people as “having their understanding darkened” and having hearts that are hardened (Eph. 4:18). In such a condition people come to view evil as good and good as evil. When this happens, the result is chaos and confusion.
You see when we come to believe that there is no absolute truth, no moral black and white, no unquestionable values, then nothing is right, everything is grey and there is no truth! The world we see around us is a perfect example of this. We claim to be so advanced as we throw out traditional values of the past. For the cause of freedom, we reject family roles, marriage bonds, personal responsibilities, modesty, and moderation, then wonder why our lives are in chaos. You see God’s instructions are not simply to satisfy His own wishes, they are “for our good always, that He might preserve us” (Deut. 6:24).
Near the close of his first epistle to the church in Corinth the apostle Paul through the direction of the Holy Spirit gives instructions about conduct in the assembly. In the midst of this discussion he makes a powerful statement. He writes, “. . . For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). What a beautiful thought! In the midst of a universe of chaos, in Christ there can be peace. James will tell us through the Holy Spirit, “where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, willing to yield. full of mercy and good fruits . . .” (Jas. 3:16-17).
Where do you find your life? Are you in submission to the will of God? Do you find in God peace and a wisdom that lifts you out of the chaos and confusion of this world, or do you try to live with one foot in the madness and the other in the truth? Paul challenged the brethren in Colosse to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). Only in Christ can you find that “peace which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). The choice is yours, but God calls you out of confusion into true and lasting peace.