Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Lie

Way back in the day when I was in a small church youth group, the youth pastor repeatedly taught on what he called "The Lie." He would quote Romans 1:24-25, "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." He was a wise man. I remember very little about high school youth group except for this: The Lie is that something or someone other than God can satisfy.

In America, or at least in the world I live in, everything screams at me to find satisfaction in something other than God. I am a huge Apple fan, and to some extent have bought the line that I will be happy if I have the latest iPhone or MacBook Pro. But what about magazine covers, billboards, movie trailers, TV commercials? Do they not all scream the Lie? If you look like me you will be happy. If you own me you will be happy. If you eat here you will be happy. If you watch me you will be happy. If you read me you will be happy.

Now, I know that dressing, eating, watching, and reading are not sins in themselves. The Lie comes in when we believe that dressing, eating, watching, and reading will satisfy more than God does. That is the Lie, that something or someone other than God will satsify. As soon as we believe it, we have exchanged the truth about God for the Lie.

My current pastor has a favorite phrase which teaches a similar truth, in fact it might simply be the flipside of the same coin: God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him. In other words, when we worship God as the most glorious of all beings, then he also shows himself to be the most satisfying. Glorifying God and delighting in God are one thing.

The reality which is opposed to the Lie is that God alone can satisfy. The Psalmist, in Ps 81:11-16, said something very similar to Paul:

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

As wonderful as iPhones and MackBook Pros are, as fun as it is to sip a latte on the porch at Starbucks, as exciting as losing yourself in the latest movie, as classy as wearing the latest fashion may be, they will turn sour and false if we think satifsaction lies in them. We must look beyond them to the one true satisfaction, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as revealed in Jesus Christ.

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