The Obedient Heart
Did God create evil?
If God is thoroughly good and there is no “bad” in Him, why did He create the angel Lucifer, who later became Satan? Some people look at this equation of good versus evil and conclude Satan must not actually exist, because an all-perfect, completely good God could not have created evil. Have you ever considered this before? What was your conclusion?
My conclusion is that evil was not created. It is the darkest form of the absence of God. Just as darkness is the absence of light, sin (evil) is the absence of God.
If evil were a created substance, like a rock or a plant, then yes—I couldn’t imagine there being a devil because God could not create evil. But evil is not created; it is the absence of God.
If we refuse to do what God wants, evil begins to show its face in our lives. This is a case of simple cause and effect. The closer we are to God, the more we look like Him. The further we are from God, the less we look like Him and the more at home we are with darkness.
Sin and Its Effects on the Earth
Solomon wrote in Psalm 127:1:
Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.
God is our protector. We need Him. His hand guides us, disciplines us, protects us, draws us closer to Him and comforts us when we are hurting. When God lifts His hand because we have turned away from Him to serve another god (such as money, power, etc.), we suffer. Every time we yield to temptation, we are obeying Satan. This is exactly what Adam and Eve did. Satan became their god, and God the Father then withdrew His presence from them. The absence of God is painful, and we can see the results of sin everywhere we look, including the earth itself.
Sin disrupts the created order. Disorder causes something not to function as it is intended to function.
For example, plates in the earth that were created to work in harmony now struggle against one another in disunity, and they cause earthquakes, tidal waves, tsunamis and volcanic activity. Jet streams shift and begin to flow where they weren’t flowing before; there are changes in weather patterns.
Sin causes the earth to become a much more dangerous place because it was created to operate in harmony with God. The same is true with our personal lives. Sin causes us to be dangerous beings because we become self-focused. When the enemy has room to attack, he certainly will, and he does so in a multitude of areas.
The Power of Obedience
If sin draws us away from God and His protection, what draws us closer to God? Our obedience.
Many of us talk about wanting to be like Jesus. If we really do want that, obedience is the place to start—because it is the place where Jesus started. We will never be closer to God than the degree of our obedience:
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. ~ Philippians 2:8
The truth is, we cannot become like Jesus without an obedient heart.
Jesus told His disciples, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). He did not say this in an attempt to manipulate them into doing what He wanted, nor did He intend it as a threat. Again, it is simple cause and effect. The heart of obedience and submission is the heart of a friend — someone who loves deeply and is deeply loved. God’s commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). His “yoke” is easy, and His burden is light. He gives us rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28–30).
As we spend time with God and truly begin to know Him, the enemy loses the “space” that allowed him to attack us before. Every time we say, “Yes,” to God, we come that much closer to Him. He molds us into His image. He purifies us. We feel His hope even in the deep, hidden parts of our souls. His light increases in our lives, and the shame and desperation of the world are driven away.
If you’d like to learn more about how the earth is affected by sin, John Paul has a 4 CD teaching entitled Matters of the Earth, that explains how the earth responds to both sin (negative) and righteousness (positive). For an in depth teaching on the power of an obedient lifestyle, check out Preparing for your Visitation 3 CD Set. Both teachings are available on CD or MP3 download.