Being told that it's a party,
That this God is in your head.
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth,
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that He died for you.
Often, the world is at odds with God. Jesus tells us we are the lights of the world (Matthew 5:14). Jesus tells us that He loves us so much that He died for us (John 3:16). But then the world tells us that we're far from being a light. We will be only be loved if we are skinnier, smarter, stronger, taller, etc. It seems like everyone around us is against us when we try to live a faithful life. Being a Catholic isn't "cool." Being a Christian isn't "cool." What's cool is YOLO (You Only Live Once) and "no regrets" to justify a worry-free and self-centered life. It's all fun and games... until eternity knocks on your door.
Think about all the glorified aspects of our daily lives that oppose God: TV shows, music, movies, people. They all try to lead us to the slaughter (away from God). Slaughter. That word paints a picture in my mind of an oblivious pig being led blindly to its death. The pig only learns of the evil ahead once it's too late. We all fall victim to this ignorance. We think we can handle it. We think we can listen to the demeaning music, watch the disrespectful shows, and take in anti-Christian media in general and emerge unscathed. We don't realize that, whether we want it to happen or not, such influences corrupt us.
I know I sound like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I remember reading a blog post about Katy Perry's negative message and initially thinking What's the big deal...? I'm not going to be spending my Friday nights like Katy Perry just because I hear her music. But then I started to think about it, and I realized that the world affects us every second. It may be a little change, but in the end, we can become a completely new person if we're not careful. Think about the first time you heard a song with a cuss word in it. How did you react? Now how do you react? With less shock I would assume. We hear bad habits glorified over and over and over again and soon we grow numb. We accept it. We assume that because it's on TV and everyone is singing about it, it must be happening. And then some people turn this acceptance into action. Fiction becomes reality and lies disguise themselves as truth.
But don't worry....We don't have to be led blindly to the slaughter!!! If you haven't realized you're going to the slaughter, here is your wake up call! If you want to go to the slaughter because everyone else is doing it, run. Run now. You're messing with eternity. You won't be happy just because you go along with the latest opinion of the world. Every single lie sounds just like the greatest truth. Don't buy the lies.
We are tempted to join the party, to let go of God. It's hard to resist, but it's possible. We can jump out of the slaughter line and escape a horrible fate. But remember this: Escaping the slaughter house doesn't mean we will live without suffering. St. Stephen, the first Catholic martyr, was stoned to death for his faith. Those around him didn't agree with what he had to say, so they killed him.
When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
"Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:54-56).
St. Stephen resisted the slaughterers around him. He saw through the lies and saw God in heaven. It wasn't a popular lifestyle. It was painful, but only temporarily. The final reward was a billion times more satisfying than "going with the crowd" could have ever been.
Resisting "the slaughter" does NOT mean locking yourself in a closet with a rosary and only leaving to eat the Body of Christ at Mass (or some variation of this). Definitely not! You may not be in line for slaughter, but you're still blind if you completely block out the negative influences. It's okay to be exposed to the bad in the world....as long as you aren't fooled by it. In the words of Father Alfonse, "we shouldn't run away from it. We shouldn't blindly absorb it either. We should think about it and challenge it and I am sure you will come up with the same answer that I have always come up to: Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life; yesterday, today and forever" (via Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse).
Once we realize that God alone should be able to change us, we can break away from a fate in the slaughter house. In resisting the slaughter, we accept Jesus. In accepting Jesus, we accept an often painful cross. But we also accept a life devoid of lies, a life lived for yesterday, today, and forever. And what a magnificent life this is.
P.S. Shout out to Kathryn for the CD with Dearly Loved and countless other inspirational songs on it.
P.P.S. Here are links to inspirational Christian songs. Give them a chance! I wasn't into it initially, but I promise, you'll be surprised at how awesome some are!
This is What You Do- Bethel Music
My Dear- Bethel Music
Light Up the Sky- The Afters
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)- Matt Redman
After All (Holy)- David Crowder Band
Give Me Your Eyes- Brandon Heath
Beautiful- Phil Wickham
More Beautiful You- Johnny Diaz
Safe- Phil Wickham
City on our Knees- tobyMac
God Gave Me You- Dave Barnes
How He Loves- David Crowder Band
I Can Only Imagine- MercyMe
Live Like That- Sidewalk Prophets
By Your Side- Tenth Avenue North
Change in the Making- Addison Road
You Know Me- Bethel Music
Sweet Sweet Sound- Sarah Reeves
Jesus in Disguise- Brandon Heath
You Are More- Tenth Avenue North
Your Love- Brandon Heath
The Struggle- Tenth Avenue North
Losing- Tenth Avenue North
The Proof of Your Love- for KING & COUNTRY (cool music video)
I Need a Miracle- Third Day
Here I Am to Worship- Christ Tomlin
Sanctuary- Randy Rothwell
Praise You In This Storm- Casting Crowns