Heard this song for the first time in quite a while the other day. I should never be surprised at how God can use the mundane as an inspiration! This song is an example. The song, penned by Tommy Shaw, debuted on the Grand Illusion album of 1978, and was a hit for the group Styx.
But in listening again to the song this week – a few things struck me:
#1 – a whole new lyric adapted from the original (see below).
#2 – my mind was immediately turned to 1 Corinthians 3:18 – and the them of “fooling yourself” or “do not be deceived” throughout scripture. Considering that I was already in the middle of a sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23, it gave me a title to that message.
How do we fool ourselves? Let me count the ways (ok – maybe not count them here – this could turn into the longest blog post in recorded history). But a few of the highlights might include:
- Failing to sincerely and regularly study the Word of God, but still try to speak to spiritual matters.
- Point out the sin in the lives of others, while ignoring the flood of sins in our own eyes.
- Continuing to live in sin – clinging to our “little pet sins” that we think don’t hurt anything…
- When we say we don’t “need” church – we can worship anywhere…
- When we put our personal preferences above what is best for the mission and ministry of the local church (think thermostats, seating, volume, music, and other comforts).
- When we substitute the smiling, sugar-dripping, propserty-teaching TV preacher for the local, God-called minister of the Word.
- When we say “I know what the Bible says, BUT….”
- Or the equally disturbing “I don’t think God really meant ________”
- When we think that our children “going to church” for an hour or two a week will somehow fulfill the parental responsibility to educate our children…
- When we agonize over our families when they explode in bad decisions and choices – yet never speak up or share the Cure (Jesus Christ), or even live what we might could say.
- When one hops from church to church, seeking the “perfect church” where no-one every bickers, argues, complains, or says anything that might hurt your feelings.
- When you assume you are “a-ok” and “saved” because you walked an isle and repeated some prayer a preacher or minister had you copy… but you never really trusted Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior, repenting of your sins (literally means turning FROM – rejecting).
- And for us preachers – if you have ever counted “raised hands” as salvations…
- If you think your God-rejecting, rebellious child or other relative is going to heaven because their name is on a church roll.
- You think you are a spiritually-mature Christian, yet still crave (and indeed NEED) the milk (Hebrews 5:12, 1 Corinthians 3:2)