I remember a word problem given to me during the break. It’s one of those things our Youth Ministry does to pass the time. Sometimes, word games, most times discussions about culture, history, current events and science.
It goes like this:
“What is a word made up of 4 letters yet is also made up of 3. Although is written with 8 letters, and then with 4. Rarely consists of 6, and never is written with 5.”
At first I could barely get head or tail of it. It took me several minutes before I could decipher what it really means. I was deceived.
Deception is all around us. We may not notice it but most times, we are deceived and trapped into believing wrong notions or wrong ideas.
One adage I frequently notice on the internet is the acronym YOLO. It basically means You Only Live Once. It is used by most of the internet savvy youth today to justify everything that they do. YOLO so I’ll drink. YOLO so let’s party. YOLO so I’ll try drugs, rock and roll. YOLO.
This may be true. Or maybe it isn’t.
If ever you’ve been to a funeral, you can’t help but contemplate on how short life really is. Some die young. YOLO. What’s worse is that the world would just move on once we died as if nothing happened especially if we’re not a famed celebrity. More so if we have not yet made our mark or left our legacy in this earth. YOLO. However, this does not justify that we can do anything we want. This does not guarantee that though we have one life to live we could get stoned or drunk or wasted. Instead, we ought to strive to make our lives meaningful by influencing other lives. Make the most out of our time by showing other people the clear path to Jesus feet. YOLO!
Now, going back to the word problem.
We are being placed into a mindset that this is a question. We are being deceived into thinking that we are supposed to look for a word. In fact, if you will notice the punctuation marks at the end of each statement, we find that it’s not a question mark but a period. This does not beg a question, it declares something.
“WHAT is a word made up of 4 letters YET is also made up of 3. ALTHOUGH is written with 8 letters, and THEN with 4. RARELY consists of 6, and NEVER is written with 5.”
The point is, the world tricks us the same way as the statement. Sometimes, our minds play tricks on us. Our minds are cruel. We are always trapped in a frame of mind that we cannot escape. An activity from a recent retreat we facilitated had this instruction: The last one to come back will get to sing later.
Does this mean that the game was a race?
No. Not necessarily. We think that we ought to hurry because we don’t want to sing or we ought to hurry because the last one gets a punishment. But what if the prize goes to the one who comes in last? What if in the end, the prize goes to the one who bothered to smell the roses and bothered to learn why the flowers bloomed or why the sun rose and fell? What if the winner is the one who learns the most?
Sometimes the deception comes from our mindset. We are deceived by ourselves. I know everyone knows which is of the world and not of the world, but the enemy also tries to deceive us even as we sit in church or do church activities.
Most of the time, we are trapped in doing just the motions of church service. First going to church, then listening to the sermon, then joining the potluck, then attending AY, finally go home. We think that after all of this, everything is fine. We are assured of eternal life. Sometimes we aim to finish the whole Bible in a year or in a definite span of time. While there is nothing wrong with that (actually it is also encouraged to read the Bible daily), sometimes we tend to just make the reading a routine for the sake of finishing the book. Sometimes, we are so keen on doing these things we neglect to make each passage reading a learning experience. We fail to ask ourselves what we would learn from this verse? How can this message draw me closer to Christ? How can this help me grow into a better individual? What made this passage special?
“If anyone among youthinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religionis useless.”
Salvation is not in religion or law or creed. Salvation is only in Christ.
*all photos are from various sources on the internet