More Than the World

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, February 10, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I’ve been blessed to visit a wonderful place called the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky two different times. Developed and operated by Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum offers patrons an opportunity to see evidence that supports our belief that God created the entire universe out of what was not visible (Hebrews 11:3). It also gives people a chance to pet animals that are hybrids of two species within the same family of animals, such as a “zorse” and a “zonkey," enjoy camel rides, and experience a teaching on snakes and what God’s original design was for them before the fall. Despite all of these experiences at the museum, the one that was by far the most impactful for me was called “Created Cosmos." We went into this room that would remind you of a planetarium and sat in these seats that recline far enough back that you are almost looking straight up at the ceiling dome above.

The presentation begins and they show you a satellite image of the building in which you are physically sitting in Petersburg. They begin to zoom out until you can’t see the building anymore and keep going until your view is outside of the earth, then they keep going until you can’t even see the earth anymore and can only see hundreds of stars. The narrator gives you Scriptures and information all along, like the fact that some of those stars are 600 times the size the earth. Once the picture has taken you as far away from earth as it can go, the narrator says, “And that’s just the Milky Way Galaxy." It is understood that there are many more galaxies out there. I walked out of there after the first time I was there realizing just how out of touch I was with just how big God is. My human mind simply cannot comprehend His greatness, and this world that seems so huge to us is just a tiny speck in His universe that He formed in ONE day!

The realization that we cannot comprehend God’s greatness combined with how small we are in a world that is already minute within the universe ought to impact us beyond mere head knowledge. In James 1:16-18, the writer reminds believers of the clear distinction between the simple and fleeting pleasures of the world that we chase and “good and perfect gifts” that are “from above” (v. 17). James had been talking about temptation and how we are enticed to sin by our own evil desires. He declared that the ultimate conclusion of allowing oneself to be dragged into sin is death (James 1:15). He then tells us in verse 16 that we shouldn’t be deceived in this way. When we pursue that which our corrupt hearts and minds desire, we do so because Satan has convinced us that it will ADD something to the life we already have. James says it will lead to death as he echoes the words of his older half-brother, Jesus, who declared that the thief (Satan) “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” while it is actually Jesus who brings life (John 10:10). Another apostle, Peter, said basically the same thing when he reminded believers: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). It’s absolutely critical for all believers to know that God gives truth and brings life, while Satan deceives and seeks to kill.

There are so many things in this world that we want and that we pursue even though we know they are not what God wants for us. We get trapped by them because they appear to be pleasing and seem attainable. They are all things of this world that will not accompany us into eternity, but most of us can’t get past the overwhelming temptations. This is why James tells us to focus on what we know about God and the good and perfect gifts He provides. Everything that looks good in this world that is against God is a mere smoke screen. That which is TRULY good comes only from God, who is more than the world, above the world, and infinitely greater than the world. James is telling us that our view of what is “good” should include a look at eternity. Things that seem to provide some kind of temporary good right now, like just about any temptation of the flesh, might ultimately lead to our destruction. Things that don’t have much of an appeal in this world, like patience, endurance, and faith, should ultimately reap eternal rewards.

James also reminds us that the God we serve is the “Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (v. 17). Did you ever think about what happens to the sun at nighttime? The answer is absolutely nothing! God created the sun and stars and they literally NEVER stop shining their light. The only reason we don’t see the sunlight at night is because the earth turns away from the light. That’s when darkness comes. The sun doesn’t change one bit at night. James is telling us that God is like the sun in that regard. He is a great God who generously gives out “every good and perfect gift," but we don’t see His goodness when we turn away from Him. Once we have lost sight of His goodness, anything that masquerades as good has the opportunity to ensnare us. Think about King David and all of God’s goodness that he experienced. Yet, one day he saw Bathsheba and decided he had to have her regardless of the fact that she was married to someone else. Once he committed the sin, was found out, and repented, he asked God, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). David had lost sight of the joy he had because of God’s goodness, and suddenly Bathsheba seemed like the best possible thing he could have. We can view any false gift as the best if we too lose sight of God’s goodness in our lives.

James wraps this section up by reminding the early Christians that they were given the greatest gift of all - the opportunity at a rebirth “through the word of truth” (v. 18). Like David, James seemed to understand that salvation is the greatest gift and there is nothing else even close. And the really cool thing is that God chose them so that they could “be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." This is another reminder that God gave the gift of salvation generously, but it was not meant to be kept hidden from others. It was given first to the Jews who made up James’ audience, but he seemed to understand that it would eventually spread to Gentiles. For us today, we can trust that God has even more people out there that have not heard about His salvation through Jesus and it’s up to us to share it.

If you look at your life and realize you’ve been chasing after fleeting earthly pleasures and ignoring God’s perfect gift of salvation, today is the day of change for you. Don’t spend another minute looking for gifts that are contained in this world and can only destroy your chance at eternal life with God. Look to the unchanging God who offers you far more than this world ever can and trust in Him!

Like Logan’s writings? You can purchase his book Heroes of the Faith here!

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