A blog by Josh Humbert
Jon Foreman once said it like this, “In the fallout, in the fallout, we found out the hype won’t get you through.” Eventually, hype has to have substance. Behind all the bright lights and big talk, there better be something real.
Where there’s smoke…the fire is assumed, right?
What about the FYRE of 2017, though? How did the most hyped party of the year end not with a burning inferno of fun but with the smoldering anger of so many disappointed customers?
The instagram video promoting the FYRE festival was full of picturesque cliches certain to appeal to so many young people: the beautiful waters of a tropical paradise, models in barely-there swimsuits smiling and frolicking, crowds reveling in a concert atmosphere, fancy boats cruising the ocean, more models, pulsing music, hints of adventure, oh and more models. FYRE gained even more hype when it was promoted by instagram personalities like: Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski. If there was to be ONE high-end party for all the wealthy millennials, this was it.
New York Magazine said the “festival was supposed to be a luxury music retreat where elite millennials could mingle with influencers and models. Tickets cost between $1k and $125k, gourmet food and accommodations were promised.” It would include “a uniquely authentic island cuisine experience,” with “local seafood, Bahamian-style sushi and even a pig roast.”
Mingling with “influencers” and models? Gourmet food? Unique, authentic island cuisine? A luxury music retreat? WOW!!!
This wasn’t just going to be “lit”….this was truly going to be FYRE.
The only problem? FYRE was using the oldest playbook in existence.
Since Adam and Eve first faced choices about fruits and trees till this very moment when you face your own temptations, the playbook of Satan remains the same. He is out to lie and deceive you, me, and every one else. The promise has never changed either. He brings something/someone to you and says: “This will be better than Jesus. This will satisfy.”
Money, power, fame, glory, sex, relationships, success, family, ministry, self-righteousness…whatever is going to be the bait that entices you, he will dangle it in front of you with FYRE-like promises.
“You want security and a better life? MONEY is better than Jesus for that! Money will satisfy.”
“You want acceptance and a sense of belonging? FAME is better than Jesus for that! Fame will satisfy.”
On and on it goes.
He is a master of hype but a complete disaster on substance.
Just like those behind the FYRE festival.
The organizers of the FYRE festival knew the event was a total disaster, but they let all the customers show up anyway. All the shiny promises gave way to infuriating nightmares as thousands were stranded with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no way to get off the island.
You wanted amazing accommodations? How about a FEMA disaster tent with hardly anything in it?
You wanted a luxury music retreat? Not a single musical artist came to the island.
You wanted to mingle with influencers and those models? Yeah, they didn’t come either.
Oh, and that “local seafood, Bahamian-style sushi and even a pig roast”? Well, that’s a negative on the pig roast…but at least you can see a pig swim.
That “uniquely authentic island cuisine” turned out to be a two slices of cheese and piece of bread.
One customer who spoke to the New York Times summed it all up perfectly with this quote: “Not one thing that was promised on the website was delivered.”
The island paradise that was promised gave way to the reality of gut-wrenching regret and so much wasted time and money.
If you look carefully in the distance, you can see Adam and Eve nodding their heads in agreement.
So how can we avoid attending our own versions of a FYRE festival in our lives? How can we avoid the deceptive illusion of sin that will only lead to heartache?
First, remember the limits of lies. This takes a bit of intentional thought but it saves you pain in the end.
What is it that you really want in life? Acceptance? Security? True Love? Do you really think money can satisfy that for you?
Do you really think a piece of paper can be enough for all that? It is just money, after all. You can spend your life LOVING it…but it doesn’t love you back or care about you at all. It is, in the end, very limited in what it can provide for your deepest longings.
The same goes for all those things. Can fame really provide what you need? Can sex and endless relationships give you satisfaction that lasts forever?
Dare to look down the road of these lies. There is a limit. The road ends, the bridge is out. The FYRE has no flames.
So remember the limits of the lies. But there is one other thing to help.
For every time you and I chose the FYRE festival lies that something or someone was better than God, we ran further from Him. We gave up the truth for foolish lies. Turning from the only One who satisfies, we created an impossibly wide chasm between Him and us.
But He did something about it. Out of wild, deep, lavish love, He acted for us.
Jesus was the One who existed in a true paradise. He had all the glory, all the beauty, all the good fellowship, all the finest foods…He had Heaven. But in love, He willingly gave all of that up. He set it aside to come down to our place.
He didn’t come to sell expensive tickets with an Instagram hype-video, He came to pay our full price with His own body and His own innocent blood. On the day that the wages of my sin came due, Jesus embraced the Cross. Hype can’t begin to grasp a substance like that. Everything that He promised, He delivered.
This is the One, the only One, who loves you like that. This is why He alone can offer acceptance, security, true love, and anything else your soul needs. Nothing is better than Jesus and His love is incomparable to anything else.
To beat the foolish FYRES of temptation, remember the limits of lies and recall the lavish love of our Savior. What a foolish deception lies in the FYRE; but what a Friend we have in Jesus.
Thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more content? Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.