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Smoke and Mirrors

It seems like, nowadays, you can’t turn on the TV, open an e-mail, or go on social media without hearing about the division going on in our country. This group versus that. Groups justifying or outright defending deplorable actions, politicians and media personalities stirring people up against one another (depending on your political flavor), and the world’s constant message “do as you please, think about consequences later.” Our entertainment is meant to make us in to mindless consumer zombies, the news is meant to stir us up, and our phones, and the apps associated with them seem to be trying to program us to be constantly connected, worried, angry, and whatever other emotions they want us to have. And why? It’s all smoke and mirrors: meant to distract and misdirect. And the thing is, if we’re honest, it’s always been this way.

2,000 or so years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)

Note how Paul speaks of the world in a similar fashion that I did? It hasn’t changed much. We just find different ways of getting distracted. The world is not our friend. Success is a liar. The wealth of this world is a distraction, and the petty fights and causes we get wrapped up in are meant to keep us from seeing the truth. And the Truth, where peace and rest lie, is in Christ and in Christ alone. We seek after things that cause us anxiety, doubt and despair when they fail us, but Christ’s peace is eternal, His joy transcends circumstances, and the hope in Him takes us beyond this life and keeps us focused on the next. Loved ones, the do not love the world, do not place your trust in the world, but stay focused on Christ who is our peace. Only then may we see the world for what it is, and understand that we’re pilgrims and sojourners, trying to tell people of our eternal destination where God dwells, and in whom none of the division and trouble of the World exists.

1 John 2:15-29

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

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