“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” – John 1:1
Secularism reigns in America today. In almost every area of public life, we have held up our hand to God at the door and said “No Admittance.” Our main concern in America seems to be that no one’s personal rights are violated. But no one is asking this question: Who defines what rights should be upheld? For instance, we do not have the right to pray in the name of Jesus at a highschool football game, but we do have the right to murder our unborn children. Now I am not one of those people who believes that America is a “Christian nation.” I happen to agree that many of the founding fathers were deists (at best). And the constitution does prevent the government (and it’s schools) from declaring a specific religion. So maybe the Muslim attendee of the football game does have the (legal) right not to have my prayers to Jesus blasted at 100 decibels over the loudspeaker. But the question remains, who decides which rights are worth upholding? Better yet, who defines right and wrong? Who defines meaning?
In many ways the founding of our nation was made possible by the ideas of the Enlightenment. But the great lie of the Enlightenment, that man can be his own source of meaning, permeates our culture. This morning as I was watching Saturday cartoons with my 6-year-old, one of the “lessons” put forth was that we must all be “true to ourselves.” Well, no. No we must not. Being true to ourselves (following our own desires at all costs) is what got us into this mess in the first place. The lesson from Eden is clear: man living his life on his own terms leads to death and separation from God. We don’t need to be true to ourselves. We are hopelessly lost when we operate on our own motivations. What we need is a clear word from God, the source of all truth. Yesterday I talked to a friend whose life is in shambles. In his own words, he is “paying the price for [his] bad decisions.” And so are we all. But we do not have to live enslaved to our own desires as does the narcissist, nor do we have to put to death all desire as does the Buddhist. The apostle John begins his gospel by telling us there is a better way. A way that leads to abundant life. There is one who can shine the light of his counsel and grace on the darkest corners of our souls. Here is hope for the hopeless. Here is light in the darkness:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the Beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it. There came a man whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man, was coming into the world. – John 1:1-9
The hope for my friend whose life is in shambles, and the hope for all of us is found in this verse. There is a better way. We don’t have to walk through life trying to be true to ourselves. We don’t have to fall for the empty promises of the world. If we walk through this world letting the culture and our own hearts define truth and meaning, we will fall. Hard. But the true light that gives light to every man has come into the world! At the end of John’s gospel he tells us why he wrote his book.
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31
May Jesus, the true light, give you light, meaning, peace, joy and purpose as you follow him.
Each month I’ll post a new song. This month’s song is from my album From the Shoulders of Giants, and you can have it FREE. Just right-click on the link below, choose “Save Target As,” and it’s all yours. If you want to make a donation, I am funneling all funds from this project to International Justice Mission. Visit the Donate page for more details. And please share this blog with your friends.
(if you can’t download the file, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email you the MP3)
Words by Benjamin Schmolck 1714 – alt. by Eric Parker
Music Copyright 2008 Eric Parker/BMI
Eric Parker – vocals
Fred Schendel – keys,
Robert Streets – production, drums, backing vocals
Steve Babb – bass guitar
Susan Whitacre – viola