In case you needed yet another reason to believe that our culture is vapidly self-absorbed, look no further than the tea tags of Yogi Tea. Trust me. I’ve been collecting them over the past week, shaking my head at the absurdity of the messaging. It’s not enough that this mentality of “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” has infiltrated the fabric of our culture, we now need a daily serving of navel-gazing with our morning cup of tea. Think of it as a misguided devotion for the masses─a dash of heresy to start your day.
So, today I thought we’d correct the false teaching of Yogi Tea, a brand established by Yogi Bhajan, practitioner of Kundalini yoga, a form which seeks to awaken the serpent within (because that’s not demonic at all). (You can read more about the issues with yoga here if you’re interested.)
Yogi Tea says: “We are born wise, we are born complete.”
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.Psalm 51:5, NIV
I’ve written an entire article about how wholly unbiblical the concept of inborn purity is (you can read it here.) But for those who missed it, here’s the SparkNotes version: The fall of Adam plunged us all into sin─man, woman, and child. This concept is challenging for the individualistic western mind to grasp, but the ancient world rightly understood the collective nature of representation. Adam’s sin is our sin because he is the federal head and representative of all mankind. Hence, we are not born wise or complete. Rather, we are totally depraved, unable to do good in the sight of God until He mercifully bestows us with a new nature. Unless Christ becomes our federal head, through faith, we are dead in our sins and will, therefore, perish (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Yogi Tea says: “Your strength is your own knowledge.”
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.Proverbs 1:7, NIV
If you want to understand the folly of man’s “wisdom,” read through the Book of Proverbs. Supplement that with Jeremiah 17:9 which assures us that, “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…” and you’ll have a better picture of the ways in which man deceives himself through pride and vanity. To trust in our own strength, in our own knowledge, is the highest form of foolishness in light of Scriptural truth. The message of Proverbs is that we grow in wisdom through our humility and submission to the Lord, not that we should lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). A prime difference between Christianity and “enlightenment” religions is that while we are looking upward, they are looking inward.
Yogi Tea says: “The gate to happiness is self-compassion.”
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14, NIV
There are two false teachings embedded in this tea tag. First: the idea that happiness is, or should be, the goal of our existence. Amber had a great insight in a post she wrote entitled, “The Inconvenient Truth About Christianity”: “God is not concerned with our happiness. He’s concerned with our holiness.” We are here to glorify God, not ourselves. Many, in the pursuit of happiness, will find only the road leading to destruction. The path to life is through Christ alone, and it is a road paved with suffering (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 5:10; Philippians 1:29).
Second: the idea that we have the ability to absolve ourselves from sin/moral responsibility is antithetical to biblical revelation. If compassion is having concern for one’s sufferings, then self-compassion is having pity on one’s self amid trials. Not only is this mentality unacceptable because it turns our attention inward when it should be focused outward, on God, but it also suggests that we should ignore the cause of our suffering. What if you are suffering due to unrepentant sin in your life? Should you have self-compassion then in the pursuit of happiness? If yes, aren’t you essentially acting as judge to pardon a sin only God can forgive? And even if affliction is not the result of personal sin, we should recognize that trials come from the hand of God. He is where we should be looking for comfort and compassion, not to ourselves (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Yogi Tea says: “You don’t need love, you are the love.”
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.1 John 4:8-9, NIV
This one is especially nefarious given its direct attack on the gospel. Anyone who believes he is love has never taken a hard look in the mirror to evaluate his sin and how far short he has fallen from the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You are not “the love”. God is love, and He demonstrated that love through the giving of His son, Jesus Christ, on behalf of His people. To say you don’t need love is to reject the message of the gospel and the atoning work of Christ. It is to embrace damnation. These verses from 1 John 4 come in the context of those who would deny the incarnation of Christ. The passage carries an exhortation for Christians to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (v.1). The Yogi Tea brand has failed that test. Once again, we see how true Christianity is theocentric, God-centered, while the religions of man are anthropocentric, man-centered.
Instead of Christianity, our culture now ascribes to so-called enlightenment religions and new age spirituality. In place of prayer, it practices self-talk and affirmations. Instead of biblical wisdom, it embraces glib motivational mantras. Yogi Tea is just another perpetuator of the cultural shift away from the revealed truth of God’s Word. It’s serving up self-interest disguised as self-care. In that, it is continuing the work of the deceased Yogi Bhajan. As he sought to awaken the serpent within, so too does Yogi Tea propagate a message as old as the one told in the Garden, a message founded on lies with an aim of rebellion.
“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5, NIV