There are two lies that are very common in our world today. These lies are foundational to our culture’s approach to life. Therefore, it is crucial that (1) we perceive what we are being told constantly by our culture and (2) we understand that it is false. Then we can embrace the truth and avoid our own destruction and also we can help others who have made a mess of it because they believed a lie.
These are the lies:
(1) The most important thing is to be happy.
(2) Romance will save you.
Let’s start with the first. There is really only one thing in our culture today that is universally accepted as honorable. That is “the pursuit of happiness.”
This is a big change from how things used to be in our culture. A lot of things used to be honorable that aren’t now. Let me give you three examples: (1) Military Service (2) Public Service (3) Family Life. Our culture used to value our soldiers very highly, but now we question their ethics and encourage our children to do other things. Our culture used to value Public Servants, but now we suspect them. It used to be honorable to be a Police Officer or a Teacher or a Preacher, but now we think the Police are out to get us, Teachers are mostly lazy, and Preachers are mostly frauds. Our culture used to value long term commitment to one’s family and spouse, but now if you make it to your 20th anniversary or so you have really reached a goal. That’s because now our culture thinks if you spend your whole life with one spouse raising one family you have missed out.
Now let me be clear about something, obviously I’m not saying this is how it should be. But this is how it is. It may not be quite like this in certain areas of our culture. It may not be this way in Union City or it may not be this way with a certain demographic, but this is how it is in the popular majority.
Really the only thing that is praised in our culture is when you do something to make yourself happy. When you throw caution to the wind and forget about consequences and do whatever it takes for happiness sake you are praised. When you leave a career for another, a spouse for another, a sexuality for another, a gender for another, etc. then you are praised. When you take a bold step to be the “real you” our culture applauds you. You have to be true to yourself they say. You have to be you. That is about the only thing that is honorable in our culture today.
Now let’s think about the second lie. The savior that most people are turning to today is romance. They think if they just find the right person they will be complete, they will be happy, they will really be alive.
Once again, this is a big change from how things used to be in our culture. There was a time when Marriage was more about keeping your promises than keeping the fire burning but that day seems to have gone. Let me illustrate the worship of romance in our culture today by calling in three witnesses. The witnesses are three very different, very popular television shows. They are: Frasier, Friends, and Boy Meets World. I hope some of you are laughing right now as you read this.
In Frasier we find Niles who cannot rest until he has Daphne to be his wife. He is willing to give up a lot just to be with her because he knows her love will rescue him. In Friends we have Ross who through much tragedy and turmoil knows that he will end up with Rachel his one true love who will set him free. In Boy Meets World we have Cory who through the ups and downs of adolescence must have his one true love Topanga to make him complete.
Now a whole generation has grown up on these television shows. They now believe that the way to have a really good life is to find and have your one true love. And how do you know if you have your one true love? Everything will be perfect.
There are the lies. Now you see the problem don’t you? I know you do. Let’s get back to reality. “Happiness” is a fleeting thing and no one is “perfect.” So if you try to make the foundation of your life this idea of “happiness” you will always be aiming at a moving target and if you try to find completion and fulfilment in a romantic partner you will always find a flaw with them, eventually. Happiness and romance are kind of like the weather in Kentucky, if you wait a while it will change.
What does Christianity have to say about this? A whole lot! In fact, Christianity gives us the truth. (1) You were made for Joy not happiness. Therefore you will never be satisfied until you have what the Bible calls the “joy of your salvation.” And (2) you were made for a Lover but it isn’t a lover that this world can afford you. It isn’t Daphne, Topanga, or Rachel. You were made for God and as Augustine said, you will find yourself restless until you find your rest in Him. If anything else completes you, if anything else is the purpose of your existence, you will be empty. But if God is everything to you, then you will really be satisfied. You will have the Joy that happiness only points to and the Love that romance only hints at.
Think about this. Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
The most important thing is Eternal Life. God wants you to really live! The way to be saved (to have real life) is by a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. You were made for more than happiness and romance. Don’t let this culture rob you of Joy and Love. Come to God through Christ and find real Joy and Love.
The truth shall set you free.