From mass shootings to utter acts of depravity, people are wondering, “why is everyone acting so crazy these days?” Well, there’s a reason.
From King Saul to Nero, Hitler, Stalin, and Putin, there have always been notorious people throughout history. Today, it seems that we are seeing more instances where everyone is acting crazy. There’s a reason for it and it has to do with the progress of sin and people not being willing to stop what they’re doing. Let’s first start with the most basic “a2b2c” answer found in the book of James and see how it applies to everyone.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” ~James 1:14-15
In a nutshell, you get tempted by your desires, you dwell on your desires (…when desire has conceived…), you act on them (…birth to sin…), then you suffer the consequences (…brings forth death.). I wish it was more complicated, but simplicity is how God operates when it comes to answers in this area. King Saul had a very steady progression, which I wrote about. His progression went as follows, which lines up with James:
Saul’s and David’s road to destruction.
- Saul disobeyed God- 1 Samuel 15:11,
- The Holy Spirit was torn from him – 1 Samuel 16:14
- Saul was tormented by a demon- 1 Samuel 16:14
- King Saul became angry with others close to him – 1 Samuel 18:8-9
- He tries to kill those close to him – 1 Samuel 18:11
- Saul grows more paranoid and violent – 1 Samuel 19
- King Saul spends more of his resources on the acquisition of his sinful desires – 1 Samuel 20-21
- Saul kills holy men (priests) – 1 Samuel 22:16-19
- He gets into the occult – 1 Samuel 28:7-8
- Saul dies along with his sons (collateral damage) – 1 Samuel 31:4-6
Tempted by desire, thinking about desire until it brings up a motive. Motive is acted upon (sin), then death with collateral damage. Saul is a classic example of James’ passage.
The same can be said of David, as he follows the “a2b2c” road as well:
- King David didn’t want to do his kingly responsibilities (desire) – 2 Samuel 11:1
- David saw Bathsheba naked (desire) – 2 Samuel 11:2
- His desire began to grow into sin – 2 Samuel 11:3
- David’s sin grew and he slept with Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 11:4
- The consequences followed – 2 Samuel 11:5
- David conspired, plotted, and schemed 2 Samuel 11:6-18
- King David’s son is killed because of him (collateral damage) and David would be on the run again – 2 Samuel 12:1-14
It’s sad to read these accounts because we see this type of progression today. We’re tempted, we “play with it” in our minds – desire – until we sin, then there’s death (consequences), which might have collateral damage to those around us.
What this path will do to a person.
James’ passage is a pretty simple one, but many details are missed along the way. When we understand these details, we can identify the progress that others are on. Several passages talk about the characteristics of the man/woman on the road to destruction, which can be found in Romans 1:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:2-4, and 2 Peter 2:12-17. Not only are they following their sin, but they also want to bring others to their depraved level (Romans 1:32, 2 Timothy 3:6, and 2 Peter 2:14).
There is also a greater danger. If anyone stays on that path for too long, they will not be able to come back from it (Romans 1:24,26,28, 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 2 Timothy 3:7) even when they are presented with the truth of the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
The reason for the craziness of today.
We are encouraged to “find our path,” to make our truth, and to run with it. The depraved acts we see today in their various progressions are an example of James’ warning – if we follow our temptations for too long, yielding to desire, we will sin until death. You can see people around us that are so far down the line of destruction that warnings will not work because they have already been given over to their desires. There comes a point where God will say to humanity, “thy will be done.”