“Hey, don’t you know it’s a waste of your day
Caught up in endless solutions
That have no meaning
Just another hunch, based upon jumping conclusions
Backed up against a wall of confusion
Caught up in endless solutions
Living a life of illusion”
Christian author Tony Campolo tells a story about criminals who break into a department store one night. Instead of stealing everything, they simply switch the price tags. Customers come in the next day to find lawn mowers for 99-cents and a pack of Twinkies for $499! Things that were valuable yesterday are worth almost nothing today! And yesterday’s worthless stuff is now priceless.
Isn’t that our world? The price tags have been switched! Culture has manufactured its own “alternative” truth that really isn’t Truth at all. We chase after things that have no value. And the things that are truly valuable, especially to God (I’m talking about people), are seen as worthless. People today are neglected, abused, and even killed… and no one seems to notice or care.
What we need is a spirit of brokenness and humility, maybe even a generous helping of humiliation. God does wonderful things with broken people.
We live in a disposable world—disposable marriages, disposable children, abortion on demand, euthanasia. We no longer value what God values, the institutions that He created including marriage, family and life. The world has blinded us to their value. Truth is obscured, blurred, and hidden by an intricate web of lies. We have become like Israel in the time of the judges, a time where people do “what is right in their own eyes.” As long as MY desires and needs are met, who cares about YOU?
But there is Good News. Every person in the world has been given an opportunity to know the Truth. Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
Jesus is talking about knowledge that originates in the head, sure, but in time it takes up residence in the heart… and eventually makes its way to the hands. It’s knowledge that becomes a way of life—a truth that is practiced.
Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount by saying, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Jesus’ teachings are the Rock of Truth—steadfast and unmovable. Moor yourself to that Rock so that your life will stay afloat in choppy waters. Those not anchored to that Rock will sink and drown in culture’s flood of lies.
Jesus words are Truth—the Truth that brings freedom. To receive this Truth, we must first accept the truth about ourselves. And that’s never comfortable. Truth hurts. Truth exposes us for who we really are and that can be humiliating. Culture says we should avoid humiliation at all costs. The word humiliation comes from the same root word as humility. Scripture has much to say about humility.
The antithesis of humility is pride. In my pride, I lie to you about who I really am. I don’t want you to know my temptations and struggles, and I surely don’t want you to know my sins. I don’t even want to admit them to myself! I will deceive myself rather than face the truth about who I am. I rationalize and justify and blame others for my shortcomings so that I avoid humiliation. Pride prevents us from walking in Truth. Pride traps us in the web of lies.
So, what is needed is brokenness, humility, and maybe a generous dose of humiliation. God does wonderful things with broken people. He changes broken people. Proud people refuse to change. They fight to remain in bondage to the web of lies because that’s where they’re comfortable. “Don’t make me face the truth because truth hurts and humiliates!”
Sunday morning, we examine the contrast between the Proud and the Broken.
“Bring Christ your broken life,
So marred by sin;
He will create anew,
Make whole again.
Your empty, wasted years
He will restore,
And your iniquities
Remember no more.”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).