January 21, 2016

On July 4, 1776 America became independent of British rule.

Two hundred, thirty-nine years later and we’re still celebrating our Independence …what a country! Although still independent, it doesn’t take a genius to remind us that we have lost our way and are in desperate need of a renewed vision for America! A vision that is squarely centered on absolute and undeniable TRUTH!

Truth has indeed fallen on hard times, and the consequences of rejecting it are absolutely ravaging our culture. Some say truth is subjective — the individual world of preference and opinion. Others see truth as a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus, and still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether. Want to start an interesting conversation? Ask someone – what is truth?

True to God’s character when, He has always had man’s best interest in mind. After creating man, He immediately entrusted him to rule over all things He had created, care for the garden He had given him; all while enjoying the great outdoors (Genesis 1:26-31, 2:5,8,15). God then gave man a drop-dead gorgeous wife to be his helper, lover and partner for life and Adam and Eve were to enjoy one another with freedom and joy as told in Genesis 1:28 & 2:18, 22-25. Unfortunately for Adam and Eve they entertained Satan’s challenge of truth and chose to believe a lie, thinking that they could be “like God”, and live life better if lived outside of God’s original design. The fall of man is described in Genesis chapter 3.

The result of man’s poor choice was (and still is) devastating! Man’s sin resulted in losses, which mounted quickly. We lost intimacy with our Father in heaven that we were created to have. We lost our authentic, honest and pure human relationships in marriage, family and community. We were fired from out first job of tending the garden, our home was foreclosed on, and we were ushered off the land that was once ours. And if that were not enough we lost our sense of purpose and place. From the time that man chose to follow a lie instead of the truth we have typically done what is right in our own eyes.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that when people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. Since the fall of man, men have run wild, leading the world astray. “There is a way that appears right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). It was not too long after man’s first sin that Cain justifies the murder of his brother, Able.

After the fall of man in the garden, men have been held captive by a sense of inadequacy, uncertainty and fear. Tragically, a vast reservoir of potential spiritual leadership and courage remains trapped and untapped behind a dam of deception constructed by the enemy. So who is the enemy? John10:10a tells us “the thief (our enemy) has come to steal, kill and destroy!” Interestingly the word thief comes from the Greek word Klepto, meaning someone with an irrational, obsessive urge/impulse to steal regardless of economic need. Satan is obsessed with stealing everything from us. Satan is the enemy and he is obsessed with destroying all that is good. Fortunately, believers can take comfort in the fact that Christ told us that he “came that we may have life and have it to the fullest” (John 10:10b).

Today, many educated and wise people consider salvation by faith in Christ foolishness. Consider I Corinthians 1:18-25…

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are saved. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. I Corinthians 1:18-25

Knowledge can inflate man’s pride and pride can keep us from the “knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness” (Titus 1:1). When God created man, He placed a thirst for truth in our heart. This thirst for truth can lead to a healthy relationship with Him! His design for all men is to be engaged in the life that His Son promised in John 10:10b “life to the fullest.” When God created man He also gave us a desire for life as it was meant to be – life before the fall! Any part of our lives lived outside of His design always creates confusion. It is only through a right relationship with Him that this life has the potential of being lived to its fullest!

Its unfortunate that we take this healthy desire for truth on detours that typically leads to something counterfeit. One only need read the book of Judges, a book that sadly but unmistakably shows how the people of Israel who had been blessed by God over and over continue to turn their back on Him time and time again. Yet we Americans shouldn’t read it from a detached perspective for we are copying the moral drift scripture describes as Israel’s fatal, social and political mistake. Are we that unlike Israel? Don’t we do what we think is right in our own eyes – such as When our society, with the Supreme Court’s affirmation, changes the law to accommodate modern views on life style choices; such as the permissibility of abortion (Luke 17:2), or changing the long-standing definition of marriage which was ordained by God (Matthew 19:4-6)? And this is how the book of Judges concludes: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25b).

It is easy to read the Bible and look for those parts of Scripture that affirm what we want to hear and deny or re-interpret a passage to make it conform to our perspective.

But Scripture does not leave us with that option. Instead it reads…

Every word of God is tested; 
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
 Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. Proverbs 30:5,6

It also reads as follows…

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18,19

The Great Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the following words to his protégé, Timothy…

Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Those are good words, words to live by, words that echo God’s truth. Therefore, we should humbly approach God confessing that we are prone to self-deception (I John 1:8). We need to ask God to help reveal those things that we think are in line with His will, but are not! We desperately need God’s Spirit to pierce through our deceptions as we read God’s Word and reveal to us the challenges as well as the reassurances of the Bible.

So what is TRUTH?

Here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: TRUTH is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God. Truth is not subjective, it is not consensual cultural construct and it is not invalid, outdated, nor an irrelevant concept. TRUTH is the self-expression of God.

TRUTH is a moral issue for every human being and how each person responds to the truth God has revealed is an issue that has eternal significance. The only path to life-giving TRUTH is through a single-minded passion to abandon oneself completely to God and this must begin with the acceptance of God’s Son, Christ Jesus who gave his life so that we may live!

Consider John 14:6: Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

What is “TRUTH” in your life?

Or better yet; Who is Truth? Scripture says it’s Jesus (John 14:6). Do you believe that?

Article by Tim Chastain, VP of Men’s Teams