Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Discipline of Delusion

“They (those who bow to idols of their own imagination and fashioning) are altogether stupid and foolish in their DISCIPLINE OF DELUSION” (Jeremiah 10:8 NAS).

There is a grave and silly irony in anyone who disciplines themselves in an erroneous way.  Think about it!  Discipline is inherently difficult and self-sacrificing and would seem to warrant that it only be done for a purpose that is both correct and beneficial.  If the premise is wrong (the starting point), then the conclusion (the end point) is wrong.  To discipline a delusion is even more egregious than someone that says “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

Humility demands that we understand the most basic of all truth, that not only does  God exist, but that there is none like Him, none to compare Him to, no man like Him.  And as a corollary truth, that man is helpless and at the mercy of a fate he cannot imagine or know.  Can we say, like the prophet, that “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps”? (Jeremiah 10:23).

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.’  Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].  You ought instead to say, ‘If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].’  But as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit. All such boasting is wrong” (James 4:13-16 AMPC).

Ah, ‘presumption” and “self-conceit,” that which fuels the discipline of delusion.  Deliver us, O Lord, from ourselves!  Deliver us also from self-esteem—that insidious and evil idea that permeates and pollutes our times.  Help us to focus on you, O Lord, and not ourselves. Do not let that deluding influence affect us.  Indeed, God will send upon them (those who did not “receive the love of the truth so as to be saved”) a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).