Over the last three days, these devotions focused on false images that need to be pruned (or as Lewis states, forsaken and replaced). Today, I want to add another false image that might need to be pruned: a false image of this world.
There are many false images we can hold about the nature of the world, but I want to focus on one in particular—one that follows directly from Genesis 3.
If we take Genesis 3 at its word, we can assume not only that the imago Dei is now distorted within human beings, but also that God’s creation has been subjected to futility (Gen. 3:14-19).
In other words, the world that we encounter is not the world as God intended, nor is it the world as it will be when God redeems it. Someday, there will be new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17 & Rev. 21:1), but for now, the world is like any person—it shows signs of The Fall.
As Paul writes in Romans 8, the creation has been subject to frustration and groans for the final redemption. (Rom. 8)
Thus, it should never surprise us that the world is broken, imperfect, and full of evil. Some people look at the world and seem surprised by what they see—not just the extent of personal sin, but also the ugly spread of societal ills and the deadly toll of natural disasters.
The Bible speaks to this reality often. For instance, look at Psalm 46. Most people know verse 10—be still and know that I am God—but don’t know the rest of the context. The Psalm highlights that the earth quakes and nations are in an uproar, but God is our fortress and will be exalted in the city to come.
We are part of a narrative that hopes relentlessly in God. We long not for a present city, but a city that is to come (Hebrews 11:10, 13:14). Through his time here on earth, Jesus put down a deposit on the Kingdom that is yet to fully come.
Until that happens, God keeps us here as citizens of that Kingdom (Phil 3) so that we might be its ambassadors, proclaiming its message and working for its values. It carries with it an assumption that the world is not as it should be. In fact, it is that very assumption that causes us to place such profound hope in God and point others to Christ.
If we fail to see the world as it is—broken, imperfect, evil—then we run the risk misinterpreting our mission and misdirecting our hope. Thus, it’s important to let the Vine-grower prune any false image we hold—including any perception we have that the world is anything less than a byproduct of Genesis 3, in desperate need of redemption through a Savior.
TODAY’s ACTION: As you go through your day, see if you can notice any of this. As you encounter a lost and broken world so loved by God, what posture do you sense God asking you to take?