Empty Philosophies of the World

July 13, 2021

PHILOSOPHY AND EMPTY DECEIT

Recently my wife bought a necklace and it came with a card that said the following:

“You are Mighty!  Make a wish and put on your necklace.  Your vision, spirit, and passion make incredible things happen. Wear your necklace as a reminder that you can move mountains!”

Now I’m always telling my kids that they have to look for the meaning behind the message they hear.  (Sometimes they’ll whine saying, “Dad, can’t we just watch the movie?!).  No!  

Now, when I read the subtext in this marketing piece, I hear the following:


Card

1- YOU ARE MIGHTY!

2- Make a wish and put on your necklace.

3- Your vision, spirit, and passion make incredible things happen.

4- Wear your necklace as a reminder that you can move mountains!

Meaning

1- You are fully sufficient within yourself; you don’t need anyone else… for any reason.

2- You are limited only by your imagination… and by the possessions you carry with you.  

3- You have the power of an independent creator; you are the center of all things.

4- Believe in yourself and you are unstoppable.  Gaze at your possessions to help you ignore anything that speaks to the contrary.

When I read this, I heard echoes of scripture and I shivered at its deceptive invitation.  It uses language and imagery that has historically led humanity to worship God.  Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mightyone who will save…”  Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.”  In contrast, the worldview presented here champions the idolatry of “Me, Me, Me!”  If you think about it, the message offers us the same temptation that Satan gave to Eve in the garden…you can be like God!  So, while we might dismiss the message as a marketing tactic for a jewelry line, it is actually a worldview-forming work of the enemy.  

Let’s take a moment and look at a passage of Scripture that can detoxify us and help us to establish the right thinking.  Below you can read Colossians 1:15-20 and several descriptive statements that seek to explain the text:

Colossians 1:15-20

Descriptive Statement

15  Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Jesus is majestic and worthy of all honor and glory.

16  For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.

Jesus is the agent of creation and everything that exists does, or will eventually glorify him.

17  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Jesus is the perfect steward of creation.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the focus of our worship.  Keep the person and work of Jesus front and center.  

19-20  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  

The fullness of God is captured in Jesus’s sacrificial love evidenced through the healing work of the cross.  


As I think about these two pieces of writing, one a commonplace marketing tool, and the other Holy Scripture, I’m reminded that all of creation is contested space.  Light vs. darkness.  Good vs. evil.  Truth vs. deception.  God has won the war, but the battles smolder on for our minds, our hearts, and our affections.  

Given that context, it’s important that we make a plan for the day:  will our actions and decisions set Jesus to the side today, or will they hold him front and center?  Will we seek our own glory today, or will we direct praise to Jesus?  Will we demand to sit on the throne of our lives, or have we already set aside that space for our Lord and Savior?  Will we spend our day pursuing things that make us feel mighty, powerful, in control, and invincible?  Or, can we approach our day knowing that through Jesus we are created, limited, loved, sustained, redeemed, and reconciled?  

As you go through the coming hours, pay careful attention to the messages that you hear.  Be quick to recognize worldviews that war against the good news.  Discern and discard that which is worthless and then refresh yourself in the Truth.  We do not want to be deceived.  We actually desire something better than power and control.  We desire peace with God the Father and the confidence that comes as we live under his protective care.  May God bless you and keep you in the coming day.

About The Author

Dan Wendell

Dan joined the Cornerstone team in November 2018 as the Pastor of Missions. His focus is on empowering the church family to step beyond the boundaries of CCLB to declare the Good News, so that the Body of Christ might be established where it would not otherwise occur. In addition, Dan provides oversight for Cornerstone’s Care ministries.