I have to admit that I like to eat.
I also like to cook which is a good thing since cooking is kind of a prerequisite to eating. I also have to admit that there are very few things that I don’t like to eat which does my waistline no favors. As a matter of fact, I can probably count those things I don’t care for on one hand and one of them has only been added to the list in the last two or three years.
Soups are a staple for me, warm and inviting and relatively easy to prepare. One of the favorites in our house is butternut squash soup which my wife and I could nearly eat everyday. Being the adventurous soul, I began to investigate various root vegetables beyond the tried and true staples of everyday life. I found myself holding one of those strange and untested vegetables in my hand one day thinking these ought to be good.
Grabbing a bag, I slipped inside three or four healthy looking parsnips inside and couldn’t wait to get home and try them out.
Now I know there are very nice and well-adjusted people out there who absolutely love parsnips.
I am not one of them.
I want to be, I really do. And I attempted twice to make them edible, both times using them as ingredients in a hearty vegetable soup.
In both instances, my wonderful soup lost the vibrancy and marvelous blend of assorted vegetables and seasoning. Gone were the earthy flavors and onion and garlic, celery and carrots. Gone was every tasteful distinctiveness which defined what I was hoping for in the soup.
All that was left was a pot of various vegetables, broth and seasoning which all tasted like parsnips. The identity of parsnips was so strong that I could have easily left out all the other vegetables and not even realized it.
The world is becoming stranger everyday as the pot boils and the identities of so many become lost to the pungency of geographic, scientific, societal and political parsnips.
The world and the dark enemy behind it takes great joy in stripping away the distinctiveness of who and what you are. If ever one could point to a great conspiracy, it is here, for Satan has been at this from the beginning. Do you remember? Do you even know?
Our first mother Eve was approached by the deceiver whose silver tongue tempted her in a way which took issue with her identity and distinctiveness as a human being, created by God for his purpose and his glory. Playing upon her emotions, he introduced doubts as to what God said and her role as a member of the human race by offering her the tantalizing idea that she could be exalted and changed. He cleverly drove a wedge by telling her that God was holding something back, but that he the serpent had the answer and was willing to give it to her. He claimed that he had the key to the secret knowledge which would unlock the hidden truth within her—that she could be as God.
All she had to do was disobey what God said.
After all, she was being held back by God. He hid the truth from her, keeping her caged in ignorance and forcing her to live in innocence and purity. Her mind became clouded and new feelings crept in, feelings strange and unfamiliar, stirring an increasing hunger—a craving to change—a desire to break free. Flushed with this newfound idea, planted in her as an itch which just had to be scratched she made her decision. Eve decided to listen—not to God who kept her down and locked her away in her frail human cage—but to the twisted lies of a creature who promised her liberation and who has been in the business of deceiving human beings ever since.
But mind you, he doesn’t come to you in the form of a serpent telling you to go ahead and pluck the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And yet—though his methods are cleverly veiled behind what may appear as progressively acceptable behavior, it is the same lie repeated ad nauseam. These lies convey the same core message but do so wearing different clothes and speaking different languages. They are hidden in the corporate office and they are hidden within families and relationships. They are hidden in the boardroom, the bedroom, your house and the White House. There is no wall high enough nor ocean-wide enough to keep them in check. Science and industry, education, media—religion—nothing has escaped his insidious touch and his remarkable influence.
His lies are everywhere, initiated by him then propagated and nurtured like a communicable disease by those who have fallen under his sway. How much effort and how successful has he been in convincing the world that we are nothing special—that we haven’t been created by God in him image, but have instead evolved right along side every other life-form on this planet? He wants you to believe that you are no more distinctive than any other mammal on the earth, only more evolved with our intellect, reasoning and language capabilities.
Satan will use whatever means he has at his disposal to dissolve your distinctiveness as a marvelous and splendid creation of God. He will use education and rationalization much in the same way that he did with Eve, promising knowledge and with that knowledge the key to a marvelous and wonderful future. He plays upon the intellect, stroking the cords of pride with the offering of knowledge attainable and success achievable. He plucks the strings of pleasure with one hand while instigating the chaos of crisis with the other.
His ploy is to isolate you from the truth, then fill your life, your thoughts, your memories and your dreams with his own propaganda. He works very hard to mold and shape you into his own image and likeness, all the while convincing you that what he offers is truth and what God offers is a lie.
Have you seen his efforts at blending the world? Have you watched the geopolitical landscape as borders are being erased, languages put aside, monuments torn down and history rewritten? Have you witnessed the collapse of long-held institutions under the crushing pressures of ever evolving social mores and political correctness? Single sex clubs are being run out-of-town with pitchforks and clubs at a rate only surpassed by churches dropping the Word of God as the final authority in all matters related to the spiritual lives. The losers of contests are rewarded while those who excel are often vilified. Students demand the abolishment of grading standards and mid-terms while they huddle in their trigger-free zones. Wealth accumulation and business acumen are eyed with disdain, while the sociopolitical activists exalt thugs and criminals while attacking law and order.
White people claim to identify as black people. Tall men identify as short Chinese women. Marriage is rapidly becoming whatever anybody wants it to be, and you better brush up on your new vocabulary for pronouns are going to be a big in thing since the world seems to have forgotten the differences in the sexes and the roles of genders.
Satan has been able to redefine marriage and even what distinguishes people in terms of sex and gender.
Even our bathrooms have fallen in the war.
What has long been called the culture wars could be best summed up this way: the progressive removal of all distinctiveness, whether it be wealth, education, language, borders, marriage, sex, gender and even species. And if you cannot grasp that last item think about over the top protections afforded certain animals, ethicists which believe that human-animal sexual relations should be accepted and even the advancing genetic world where barriers between humans and animals are falling by the wayside.
Hmm? It almost sounds like things the Bible has been warning about for centuries are really starting the manifest themselves.
But not everyone is wildly caught up in these things, and yet they too often suffer with a loss of distinctiveness and identity confusion. How much self-hatred is there out there? How many people struggle and unexplained anger, bitterness, depression and hopelessness. How many are lost in this world, unloved and perhaps if they were honest not even understanding what true love is? How many of us view ourselves in terms of our failures? How many of us are better at forgiving others than we are ourselves?
How many of us live in constant pain in our souls, unable to find our way out, and in an attempt to dull the sharpness of the pain, medicate ourselves by drugs, alcohol, gluttony, pornography or a number of other methods?
There are so many ways that Satan attacks.
There are so many ways that we can be knocked down and defeated.
It is at the place where we have been hurt so many times and knocked down over and over and over again that we often give up. I’ve heard it, and you have heard it too. Maybe you have even succumbed to it, accepting the lie as truth believing that if you do, you will find the peace and the rest that you long for. It makes no difference how that is manifested in your life. If you yield to an identity that is different from what God says, you have taken the bait.
Identity confusions can take hold and entrench themselves in your life and for the believer in Christ they will seriously impede your race if not taking you out of the race altogether. But whether you are a believer or not, identity problems can really wreak havoc on your life.
And by the way, if your identity is not what God says it should be, you are a victim to Satan’s devices.
But you don’t have to remain a victim, but instead can find your life turned into victory. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you think you are or what you have done, there is a confident hope available for you. If you are a chunk of carrot or a piece of celery that tastes like parsnips the pot doesn’t have to be dumped. God can sort through the mess and restore you as you were meant to be—as he created you.
Next time, let’s put aside what Satan and the world has to say on this matter and see what God has to say.
…line upon line; here a little, and there a little…