From Babylon, to Rome, to the industrialised affluent western world a spirit has seduced the nations. A spirit of old. The bible speaks of her as the "The Mother of Prostitutes and of the Vile Things of the Earth" (Revelation 17 verse 5); and she has one mission: lead all the nations astray through false worship.
Her spell rests on the earth, holding all people in a state of deception (The Revelation 18 verse 23); even though God has destroyed her time and again (Isaiah 47, Revelation 17), she continues to seduce the nations through excessive consumption, sexual promiscuity and the pursuit of pleasure (Revelation 17 verse 2; 18 verses 3,7,10; Isaiah 4 verse 8). She sneaks up to us, seduces us with innocent pleasures and hardens our hearts to The Lord of our Salvation. Our first love.
Don't be deceived, this great prostitute roams the world today and even if we think we are children of God we need to "come out from her...so you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues" (The Revelation 18 verse 4)
There are three areas in which I suggest we have gone into this Mother of Prostitutes: a pursuit for security in possessions, a consumerist mindset, and an intoxication with sexual immorality.
What value do you place in what you have? How do you respond to the thought of losing what you have? When you work, what do you work for? In the privileged western world, many normal life concerns are swept away from our minds. Food, shelter, and adequate clothing don't cross our minds with anxious feelings, yet as mortal beings we will always chase for an external security.
With these normal physical securities far from our minds, we turn to supplement our emotional security. Will buying those clothes improve your self worth? Will purchasing that new phone create a better standard of life? Does the promise of that TV help you finish the work day? If our foundation of security rests apart from God, we frolic in the ancient city of Babylon, headed for damnation.
Does consuming feed the ache within your soul for a more substantial life? We are told to consume. Phones come out with a new line yearly, clothing is consistently going out of style, and advertisement all around us craftily infuses our hearts with fear if we don't purchase that new item.
We even chase experience to fill our insatiable desire to consume. If I take that trip to Europe I will be much happier! The simplest pleasures can hold a damning allure if we place our security in them.
Finally an obsession with sex has permeated our society. Why shouldn't it in a society that glorifies indulgence of everything else? A TV show or movie can hardly be watched without deceiving us, and convincing us to cheer for the success of an ungodly relationship in the name of love, or influencing a light hearted attitude towards a protagonist who is sexually promiscuous.
Through such passive and often simple pleasure we are subconsciously taught acceptance in the city of Babylon.
2014 a fresh start
As we head into 2014, be aware of the city of Babylon and her whorings. Her deception and spells are all around us. In 2014 lets come awake from a lustful stupor and break the love affair.
Resting on the foundation of the Gospel, lets love what God loves, give of our time to show our distrust of the fulfilment of experience, and of our money to break our trust in the material.
This can be done in multiple ways. Join a ministry team at your local church, or look to local missions and see how you can be a part of the advancement of the gospel in and outside of Australia. Or if you find yourself too attached to what you earn or have, give to those less fortunate or to the cause of the advancement of the cross of Jesus.
And do not forget, pray to The Lord - that even though we live in this city of iniquity we will not be turned by it, but our hearts will look unswervingly to a kingdom beyond this realm with a promise of pleasure that this world cannot give(Hebrews 12).
At all cost, come out of her. For if we live as a citizen of Babylon we cannot expect that we will not perish as one.
Dan Peterson (21) is from Chicago, Illinois USA, currently living in St. Leonards, Tasmania, studying cross-cultural ministry (his second of three years). Dan is a musician and personal fitness trainer, who loves exploring the Australian bush.
Dan Peterson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/dan-peterson.html