We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5, verse 19.
This verse is the second of three statements that conclude 1 John by affirming what we know. If you remember from last time, the first was that we know that Jesus changed us and our nature by His death and life. Now comes and affirmation how, understanding that we’re changed, we’re still living in a world plagued by sin.
Most of this is ground you’ve covered before. If you believe in Jesus, you accept that you’re of God and that the world is a sinful place; yep, I get it, been there done that. Consider that phrase, though: “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” That means everything. EVERYTHING.
Everything you know and think is good is under the control of Satan. It pleases him, quite obviously, to frustrate God by hurting us. Satan has been given the freedom to do with creation whatever he pleases. Everything from the elements of nature to the inclinations of our hearts is under his influence. Tornados, earthquakes, fires, droughts; Wall Street panics, government incompetence, wars, street protests: all of these are tools that the evil one uses to hurt us. And why does he hurt us? To put himself above God. We are nothing but pawns in the devil’s selfish struggle to paint himself as number one.
But it goes deeper than nature. ALL the things we think are good are under Satan’s control as well. Sleeping babies, good times with family, monetary success, liberty and advancing freedom, good religion, happiness and falling in love, Thanksgiving dinner and cold Christmas mornings by the fireplace: ALL under Satan’s control. All of these things can be twisted to his advantage and our detriment. Everything that humanity holds dear can be twisted by the evil one. Why? Again, to put himself above God.
My wife and I were talking about Job. If you aren’t familiar with his story, Job was wealthy, wise and happy. Satan asks to test Job so that the devil might make God look bad. God allows it, and in a very short time Job loses everything, everyone he loves, and even his health. At his lowest, Job refuses to curse God but is moved to ask Him “why.” God’s response? “You have no standing, Job, because I’m God and I love you.” When Job is of the world, everything he has is under the control of the evil one. When he comes back to God, however, he realizes that everything is nothing while nothing but God is everything.
Job found out that the cure for the common sin is Jesus. The way to overcome the control of the evil one is by surrendering to Jesus. Against Him, even the most powerful of evil attacks is powerless.
Lord, abide with me to overcome evil in my way today.