“Man is living a life of great disorder because his values are upside down. Gain is more important than truth; hate is more important than love; intellect is more important than heart; the stuff of Earth is more important than finding a treasure which even death cannot destroy.” – Anonymous
3:34 am. Drifting in and out of a restless sleep, I slowly opened my eyes in the mottled blackness of a hotel room. There was a song playing over and over again in my head; an oldie from back in the 1990’s performed by a group known as TRUTH. I remember thinking how prophetic were the words:
“We’ve got a program for saving the earth
While unborn children are denied their right to birth…
One baby’s blessed, another cursed…
Have we made this world better or worse
Now that the life of a tree comes first?
You say we’ve risen to a new age of life
And you’re telling me what used to be wrong is now right
But I say, I say
What if we’ve fallen to the bottom of a well
Thinking we’ve risen to the top of a mountain
What if we’re knocking at the gates of hell
Thinking we’re heaven bound
What if we spend our lives thinking of ourselves
When we should have been thinking of each other
What if we reach up and touch the ground
To find we’re living life, upside down”.1
Those lyrics rattled around in my head for the next several days. While on-board a flight back to Tampa Bay, I finally looked up the song. I read the verses several times. My eyes misted.
The United States (and much of the developed world) has been on a spiritual and moral free-fall for decades. In the Bible’s Older Testament, one of the prophets warned that a time would come when wrong behavior would become so normalized that we would forget how to blush.
“Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 6:15)
Another of the ancient prophets put it this way,
20 “Doom to you who call evil good
and good evil,
Who put darkness in place of light
and light in place of darkness,
Who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
Are we living in an upside down culture? Has iniquity become so “normalized” that we are no longer discomfited by it?
“We are in the middle of a big swamp of ignorance that is taught by a lot of nonsense, propaganda, absurdity, amalgams. I have a hard time listening to any speech. You feel like you want to stop the TV every two seconds to rephrase them, because it is lie after lie, turning stuff upside down, and you can’t follow that. That’s the trap.” – Raoul Peck
When the headline news starts to mirror excerpts from the prophetic books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah or Revelation, I can’t help but sit up and take notice. Friends, we’re living in perilous times. People are living upside down. A friend recently said to me, “You cannot raise your children how your parents raised you, because they raised you for a world that no longer exists.” True that.
Cultural analysts report that our present society is now reinvented every three to five years. That is, the core distinctions of a society—our language, customs, values, and fashions—are significantly reshaped that quickly. While some may long for a social order that is stable and permanent, the fact is, culture is constantly undergoing changes. If we don’t learn how to cope we’ll lose touch with reality.
I will assume that most of you are familiar with a man called Paul from the Bible’s Newer Testament. In a letter to his close friend and protégé named Timothy, Paul wrote these predictive and cautionary statements:
1-5 “Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end (of time) approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 MSG)
Paul does not mince words when describing (prophetically) how mankind would continue down a path of depravity. The way he defines the aberrant characteristics of humanity is unnerving. I particularly like how the idiomatic translation of the New Testament known as The Message describes those who have gone astray as being “allergic to God.” I don’t know what makes some people more hypersensitive, a political discussion or bringing up the reality of a Supernatural Being in conversation. Like it or not, Paul hit the nail on the head. We are surely living in the predicted difficult times when for many just about anything goes, and faith in God is little more than a pretense.
Truthfully, there are many characteristics from that list in Paul’s letter which could have described my own life at one time or another. Without Divine intervention, I would still be one of the people that He warned Timothy to avoid. As they say, if not for the Grace of God…
Look, we all behave badly on occasion – no exceptions. Decadence doesn’t take much practice. That’s why a true follower of the Liberator Jesus is ever working toward a transformation that enables him or her to reflect the image of our Creator a little more each day (no matter how often we fail).
Paul went on to remind Timothy about the transforming power that comes from knowing the absolute truth, and how it can have a profound and lasting influence on a person’s development.
14 “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and it is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 16-17)
If we think of ourselves as a lump of raw clay thrown on a potter’s wheel, then God as the Master Potter uses His truth to prepare and equip us to do His work. Divine Truth is what defines and molds us as human beings. That is, if we submit ourselves to the process.
“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire most.” – Thomas Merton
This current upside down world order in which we all temporarily exist will continue to grow more and more dangerous and deceived. People will go right on rejecting the Creator of all things (GOD) and His Liberator (Jesus). In fact, according to one of the portent texts of Scripture, the Almighty will eventually expedite mankind’s ultimate delusional state. It begins in earnest when a knight in shining armor – an anti-Christ – arrives on the world scene. Here is a quote from the Newer Testament:
9 “A man of sin will come as Satan’s tool, full of satanic power, and will trick everyone with strange demonstrations, and will do great miracles. 10 He will completely fool those who are on their way to hell because they have said no to the Truth; they have refused to believe it and love it and let it save them, 11 so God will allow them to believe lies with all their hearts, 12 and all of them will be justly judged for believing falsehood, refusing the Truth, and enjoying their sins.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – TLB)
When someone hears the truth (as defined by our Creator – not religious dogma) but that person habitually refuses to obey it, they leave themselves wide-open to every lie and deception disseminated in the midst of humanity. Paul warned the Believers living in ancient Rome:
28 “Since they thought it was foolish to acknowledge God, he will abandon them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” (Romans 1:28-32).
Here’s some good news: you can escape “reckoning day” when mankind’s mistakes and misdeeds are finally judged. How does a life of certainty (now and ever after) that is personally guaranteed by the only legitimate champion of truth and justice sound to you? That is the essence of what Jesus promised to all who follow him.
Just in case some (or all) of what I am sharing here is unfamiliar, please allow me to acquaint you with the one who is called Jesus. You really should get to know this extraordinary man. In brief, He claimed to be a visitor from another world who took on human form through an incarnate birth. Jesus said that He was the doorway through which we must pass in order to enter a new dimension of living. He also referred to himself as the road upon which we must travel to make our way back to where we belong. Following Jesus means you’re on the pathway that will bring you safely through your journey here on spaceship earth, to a timeless afterlife with the Creator of all things!
On the other hand, you could just keep rolling the dice; drifting along in a “ship of fools”2 on increasingly troubled waters. That’s entirely up to you. Either way, consider yourself lovingly informed.
Thank you, my Heavenly Father for those who have heard your voice today; May they all have ears to perceive, eyes to understand, and a hunger to learn more of the truth. Amen.
(1) Writer(s): GARY DRISKELL, KARLA WORLEY
(2) The term ship of fools is an allegory, originating from Book VI of Plato’s Republic, about a ship with a dysfunctional crew.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656