After Teddy watched Popeye, he came to me and asked if I could buy spinach so that he could get strong. With English being his second language, I looked at the sweet boy and thought I won't disillusion him of the amazing power of spinach. Therefore, I said, "Sure." I could have added that last week those green crisp leaves he didn't like on his plate were spinach, but I didn't. Next time we ate spinach, I made sure to point out to Teddy, "This is spinach like Popeye eats." Suddenly, he found it very good.
Okay, I laughed and thanked the writer of Popeye, but truly false advertisements are rampant in life. Much of the false advertisement starts in our own noggin. You and I are one heck of an ad campaign. We fall for the most obvious of empty can promises though we filled the cans ourselves. Spinach can promises are universal and a simplified term for an if/then syllogism. If I have this, then I will have that. Anyone who has taken logic knows that a false premise will lead to a faulty conclusion. But the spinach cans keep beckoning with a worthy desire for something good like strength, love, courage, friends, well-behaved kids, happy husbands, a nice home, the list goes on.
Maybe I have completely confused you. Here are some examples of sin-canned thinking or pleasant lies:
If I am a good person, then good will come back to me. If I just love my kids enough, then my kids will have whole relationships. If I just have more money, then I will be more generous. If I just have more education, then I will have more courage. If I just have more "me time", then I will be a pleasanter, more altruistic person.
Please don't assume I am saying there aren't truthful if/then statements. There are. The Bible is chock full of them. Here is Luke 9:23-24: "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.'"
If you read those verses carefully, you find not just one but three if/then statements. The Biblical life is portrayed with the jagged edge can full of temporal loss, personal hardship and human rejection. Make no mistake few want those things. Christianity is an ad campaign like none other. It is 100% truthful. In what we, mortals, might call insanity, God makes all these horrible promises, and yet we become recruits, because Jesus himself chose to be the first to take up his cross and lay down his life. With great cost to himself, God exchanged the cans on the shelf. Look no more for the spinach cans. Instead when you see the jagged edge, remember Jesus who sliced much more than his hand to open for us all the contents of unmerited favor, a purposeful life and eternal glory. Dear Teddy, If you feast on that, then you will be stronger than a million Popeyes.
45 minutes ago