You've Been Lied To Part 3 - The World Can Give You Everything You Want

My wife and I have been married for almost 14 wonderful years, but preparing for the wedding day was anything but flowers and butterflies. Because weddings are primarily for the women - men, your job is to show up and get your vows straight - the months and weeks leading up to the big day were particularly stressful for my wife. Will everything be ready on time? How will my dress and hair look? Am I going to trip over my dress? Have we forgotten anything?

In order to alleviate these nerve-wracking moments, we were diligent to hire those whom we believed would be the best people to make our day as special as we hoped it could be. Photographer? Check. Wedding director? Check. Pastor and musicians for the ceremony? Check. Caterer? Well, kind of.

My wife had a friend from work that had opened her own catering company and was looking to build her book of business. We decided to give her a chance to present what she was capable of providing and, based upon the pictures and prices she showed us, we agreed that she would be more than suitable for our reception. Nothing big or extravagant was planned, but what we were having we wanted done well and she was able to assure us that all of our needs would be met to our satisfaction.

Finally our wedding day arrived and we were busy getting ourselves and our wedding party ready for the ceremony. I was able to sneak downstairs into the church fellowship hall to see how the reception set up was progressing. To be honest, it wasn't all that impressive but I reasoned that it was still a little early in the game. My soon-to-be wife did the the same and it wasn't until later that I learned my hunch about our reception had been verified.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur yet there are many things I do remember, especially the faces of those who came to celebrate with us that day. When I did get a chance to take a break during the shaking of hands and hugging of necks to grab a quick bite to eat, a few things threw me off immediately. The fresh fruit was actually frozen and not the variety we had picked out. I'm pretty sure we ordered some mini sandwiches but I couldn't find them anywhere. And where we the fresh veggies? The punch fountain turned out to be a punch bowl (not that big of a deal) but there were no crystal cups, only cheap plastic ones. Okay, I can overlook that - don't want to appear shallow. What about the cake? Well, it leaned a little bit, a la the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I was worried it might topple over if someone bumped the table. Things were certainly not as they had been promised. Not even close.

It wasn't until we both had a chance to catch our collective breaths and get on the road to the honeymoon that I realized just how far off the mark our caterer had been. My wife informed me that when she went down to the fellowship hall to check things out prior to the ceremony, the cake was not only leaning but it was barely decorated at all. She quickly found some garland and other items to spruce up its appearance. She also told me that she did have a chance to talk to the caterer during the reception and that the woman appeared apologetic about not fully delivering on her end while at the same time mumbling something about how her help never showed up.

Honestly, I enjoyed myself even though things weren't as they were promised. We made the decision about a week before the ceremony to ask a family friend if he would provide some of his famous chicken wings (hey, we're in the South, we can do that at a wedding!) and my father had the wherewithal to order a whole bunch of mini country ham biscuits, so our guests still had plenty to eat. Yet it was still disheartening to be promised one thing only to be greeted by a set up that was sorely deficient.

The world does this to us all the time.

"Yes, you can have it all!" screams the commercial on television. Really? Will pay day advances truly give you the peace of mind they promise or will they provide another financial headache? Young girls and guys swoon over the models on the magazine racks in the store, scouring the articles and devouring the pictures in an effort to look like these models. I guess no one told them that anyone can look great with a little air brushing and Photoshop. The average American household is weighed down with almost $16,000 worth of credit card debt. Does this sound like we are getting everything that we want and living the good life?

I could go on but you get the idea. It's a lie to believe that you can have it all. It's just not going to happen. When you do sign your name on the line to get more stuff or to gain more status that you believe will complete your life, all you are really doing is signing away ownership of yourself to someone else.

Look at how Satan twisted this lie to try and tempt Jesus and ultimately us:
Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, "I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9)
After reading that you might be saying to yourself, "There is no way that Jesus would ever even consider such a notion! And I would never dream of selling my soul to the Devil either!" Really? Perhaps we don't exactly call it that anymore - selling your soul to the Devil seems so Hollywood - but isn't that exactly what we do when we believe that the world is the source for all of our wants and needs? Sure, there is no blood ritual or baby sacrifice involved, but the premise is the same. If you believe that for your life to be complete you have to have everything that the world offers, then it is the world that owns you and ultimately the ruler of this world, a.k.a. Satan (John 12:31).

"But," you ask, "would Jesus even consider such a ridiculous proposition? I mean, He of all people knew who the Devil truly was!" Put yourself in Jesus' earthly position for a moment. You are fully God yet fully human and you know what your future holds. You have been sent to earth by the Father to redeem a sinful and fallen world, the climax of which will be your horrific and excruciating death on a wooden cross. People will reject you, spit on you, and threaten your life along the way. You will have no place to call home and those closest to you will turn and run when you need them the most. So the offer of a life of comfort and ease without the threat of all of the coming hardships would be tempting enough for anyone. Tell me you don't want an easier future for yourself and your family.

This is exactly what the world tells us it can do for us. But don't believe the lie! Jesus didn't and He answered that deceiver quickly and harshly:
Then Jesus told him, "Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him." (Matthew 4:10)
An essential part of worship involves where we place our affections. And if we are reliant on the world to satisfy us, then we indeed are worshipers of the world. The truth is, God has promised us more in His presence than the world could ever give to us in a billion years. With Satan, the lie goes even deeper. He can't grant you what he doesn't even possess - peace, hope, comfort, rest, satisfaction, security. He'll promise you those things but they aren't his to give.

God alone can satisfy. The temptation to look beyond God for satisfaction is built upon the lie that it's actually possible to find satisfaction apart from Him. It's not possible and the sooner we stop believing the lies the sooner we can live victorious and satisfying lives for Christ.

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