The Irony Of Independence

The Irony Of Independence

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
–Genesis 3:9-10

This week we are looking at Satan’s four favorite lies, all of which can be found in Genesis 3. First, Satan tempted Eve with the lie that is the foundation for every sin: “You do not have what you need to be happy.” Once Eve fell for that lie, Satan used a second lie: “You are in control of your destiny.” Eve felt that to experience happiness in life, she had to move out from under God’s control of her life. And that led to Satan’s third lie to Eve: “You are all alone.” The great irony is that independence from God does not produce confidence; it produces fear. You see, all it takes is a disloyal mate or a maverick cancer cell or a random accident to quickly sober us up to the fact that we are not in control of our lives. That realization brings fear. It is no accident that the first negative emotion in the Bible was not jealousy, bitterness, or lust–it was fear. Adam and Eve decided that God could not be counted on to give them what they needed, and so they acted independently of God and ate fruit from the forbidden tree. Yet instead of being filled with confidence, they became afraid and hid themselves from the presence of God. When God called to Adam, he said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’” (v. 10). Up to that point, Adam and Eve had never experienced fear, but acting independently of God produced fear. And it continues today.

As atheism takes hold in our culture, the result is not unbounded confidence, but increasing fear. Several years ago, the late writer Michael Crichton wrote an article called, “Let’s Stop Scaring Ourselves.” In it he catalogued some of the wildest fears that have seized our culture in the last few decades. He said in 1975, “Newsweek” warned that global temperatures were falling, and could result in worldwide famine. Within ten years, scientists had to revise those predictions as temperatures had begun to rise instead of fall. In the 1960s, we were warned of the dangers of overpopulation, with one think tank predicting that by 2030, the world population would be at least fourteen billion people. Yet by the end of the twentieth century, fertility rates had fallen to half of what they were in 1950. We were warned that power lines cause cancer. Then it was discovered that not only are power lines not harmful, but the magnetic fields that were feared to be carcinogenic can actually be helpful in some medical treatments. There were also threats of killer bees, giant asteroids–and who can forget the hysteria surrounding Y2K? Yes, catastrophic events do sometimes occur. But the relationship between society’s increasing fear and decreasing belief in God is not coincidental. You see, whenever you free yourself from the notion that there is a sovereign God who is controlling everything, it is only natural for you to begin calculating everything that could go wrong in your life. You are seized not with confidence, but by fear.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Satan’s Four Favorite Lies” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Michael Crichton, “Let’s Stop Scaring Ourselves,” Parade Magazine, December 5, 2004, 6-7.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.