Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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December 19 – Our Battles With Insanity

“So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.  If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’  But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.'” John 11:47-50

Devotional Thought For The Day

This morning I am reflecting upon the insanity of our sinful nature – how we view things and process things when our thinking is darkened and skewed in impenitence, unbelief, and rejection of God and His Word.  The facts in regard to Jesus – Who He was, His great power and also His loving and redeeming purposes – were well known to everyone; the evidence was plain and compelling. The chief priests and the Pharisees acknowledged all of this and were fearful that “everyone will believe in Him.”  Their real fear was not that Jesus was a fake or a fraud, that people were being deceived and misled – they acknowledged that “this man performs many signs,” like raising Lazarus from death after he had been dead for four days! [Jn. 11:39]  Their real fear was that because of their opposition to Jesus, their rejection of Him, if people came to believe in Him these Pharisees would lose their position of influence and power with the Roman government.  In their arrogance they concluded that this would occasion the “perishing” of the “whole nation” [what pathetically little there was of it as a political entity]. Their insane conclusion was that they ought to kill Jesus – which they soon accomplished.  Their false faith, and their dogged commitment to it, was more important to them than truth and reality, more important than the Son of God and the Word of God and the salvation of God.

Over the years I have on many occasions observed this same insanity in conversations. The facts are well known and clear and compelling, and yet the truth is so inconsonant with how we want things to be, so challenging to the “status quo” that we have created [the “reality” that we have invented in our own minds] and are committed to maintaining, that we are willing to engage in outrageous and insane “reasoning” and plotting to destroy the truth [and anyone who is standing for it, and hence threatening our “place,” our position and influence].  False faith, and selfish, sinful considerations, can be so important to us that we allow nothing to penetrate the darkness and insanity and bring us to repentance and true faith – faith that grasps the truth and is consonant with God’s Word.  Such commitment to delusion, perseverance and stubbornness in it, is certainly not commendable, helpful, or healthy – it is evil, insidious, destructive, and damnable.  This is especially the case in matters where God’s Word, Holy Scripture, is clear, compelling, and incontrovertible – as it is in all matters of Christian doctrine, and yet is rejected.  This is also the case when people are denying their culpability, their guilt, their responsibility for the way things have turned out – and insisting that others are the cause of the misery, and are far worse than they are.  Lord, have mercy!

In that we are all infected with the same sinful nature, we must be aware that we are vulnerable to the same “insanity” of commitment to error, lies, self-deception, and impenitent violence.  Frankly, this is quite daunting and frightening – to allow for the possibility that “my world” and “my beliefs” might need some correction.  Of course, the fact that there are thousands of people out there who are eager to “correct” my misconceptions with their own version of “reality” [many of whom are among the worst kooks and nuts in the world] creates even greater fear and reluctance.  However, there is one anchor and foundation that God has provided for us, through which He provides “correction” and healing for our insanity – and that is His Word.  This, however, is the “corrective” that our sinful nature is most averse to, most hating and despising of – as in the case of the chief priests and Pharisees.  Nonetheless, Jesus makes clear that only “if you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” [John 8:31,32]  So even today Jesus has placed us in the same position as those chief priests and Pharisees – and our response to His Word will diagnose and dictate whether we remain in our insanity or come to know the truth and be freed by the truth.

The joy and wonder of God’s love, His gift to us of His Son in His incarnation at Christmas, His great love for us in laying down His life for us on the cross, strikes our sinful rebellious flesh as being “insane.”  Yet all of this is clearly stated in hundreds of passages in God’s Word, the Bible – that our salvation, redemption, forgiveness, eternal life, and blessed joy in the heavenly banquet of God’s Son, is all freely given to us by God’s grace, mercy, and love, and is received solely by faith alone, passively, as His gift to us in Christ Jesus!  So our sinful minds consider God insane, but it is our sinful minds which are in fact insane – and it is clearly insanity to think that our sinful minds create and dictate what is reality and truth rather than God’s Word!  So we need help – unless we are to remain adrift in the constantly morphing insanity of our sin; and that anchoring, mooring, and foundation which locks us into truth and solid reality is God’s Word, Holy Scripture, the Bible.  May God have mercy on us and keep us in His Word, that the darkness and insanity never recapture our hearts and minds!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, we desire to control our lives, especially our thinking and believing – but to do so plunges us into the disorienting darkness and insanity of sin and delusion and ignorance of Your love. We need Your Word to control our thinking and believing, and also our lives, that we may be grounded in You and Your love, and controlled and freed by Your truth.  Preserve us in true faith by Your Word, and grant us ever increasing sanity and wisdom.  You alone can fill us with goodness, decency, love, and safety through Your Word.  Grant it to us in Your mercy, Amen.