Ephesians 4:14-15 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
I don’t know about you, but I often get confused about what is Truth. I have gotten so tossed back and forth by the waves of different teachings and opinions that my brain became sea sick. I have wrestled with what I always assumed to be true from the Bible Belt I was raised in, and what was really Truth. I love the promise of this scripture: I can become a mature part of the body, with Christ as head. I can know the Truth.
I have spoken 4 times recently on Ephesians 4, and every time I learn something new. This last time, a new thought stuck in my heart. I’ve often heard that If you hear something 7-9 times it becomes true to you. In this
Information Age, it is very easy to get confused about what is truth, as we all know from trying to wade through any news we watch or read. We tend to believe what we hear most often. That’s scary, and evident in the great divide we see forming in the USA. I see people being separated from one another due to perception instead of experience. There are large sweeps of assumption, for instance, if you are at a country music that you are a conservative republican. Or if you are in D.C, you are a liberal and hate people from the Midwest. I believe the reality is that we see the worst or the best of one person, and we prescribe that person’s behavior as typical of all people having a similar characteristic of some sort. How’s that for prejudice?
Last Sunday, after writing the previous paragraph, we went to church. The pastor spoke on John 6. As I read the scripture, I found an example of believing what you’ve been told instead of the truth of the situation. (There is SO much in this small passage, I expect I will be processing it for weeks and months.) See, there was a crowd of people who saw Jesus take 2 fish and 5 loaves given by a boy, and feed 5,000+ people with what was multiplied from that gift. There were 12 baskets of food left after everyone had eaten. During the night, Jesus and the disciples sailed to another town. It didn’t take long for the crowds to find them, and they wanted to see another miracle. They said, do a miracle and we will believe in you. Moses fed our ancestors with bread from heaven. Jesus said No, no, no, the Father fed your ancestors, not Moses. And that same loving Father wants to feed you THE BREAD OF HEAVEN that gives life now in this generation, and I AM that bread. (And I hear the Spirit saying “He gives life to this generation!!“). See, the people had been taught that Moses had given the bread from heaven. Scripture doesn’t say that, but the message got confused somewhere as the stories were passed along. The source of the food moved from the Father to Moses. And the people heard this repeatedly from their parents, and rabbis and teachers. It was a common belief in their community, but that didn’t make it true. Moses was God’s friend, but he was not the source of the life sustaining manna that fed their ancestors, (despite what both Facebook, FOX, and CNBC reported😜).
I’ve been occupied with the thought, How do I avoid being dissuaded from the Truth by false teaching? This thought has really harassed me, and for good reason. There are several scriptures that make me fear being mislead. Here is one: Matthew 24:24-25 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. I haven’t been pondering this for weeks, at this point, I’ve been haunted for years. Yet as I spoke the other night, I feel the answer came.
Our truth is determined by what we expose our minds to the most. THE TRUTH is determined by God’s reality. The two can differ greatly. Lately, my mind has binged on all 6 seasons of Downton Abby, the InvestED podcast, Keeping Up with the Jones, This is Us, and life. It has moderately reflected on the lives of Joseph, Gideon, and now Matthew’s writing. To know THE TRUT, it is VITAL that I am immersed in scripture so I recognize false teachings when I hear them, that I spend time with Holy Spirit being taught (see 1Cor 2:10-13), and that I expose myself to a variety of teachings by people who believe the entirety of scripture and the power of God.
A few writings ago, I talked about THE LIST. The one we make up in our head that pleases God and makes us good enough for him. I said the list is trash. The list is trash. I cannot earn God’s approval, I can only receive it through Christ’s sacrifice. I want to clarify that because I don’t want to give the impression that studying and knowing scripture is what makes God love us. Studying and knowing scripture protects you from lies and misleading teachings you may hear/read.
Back to Houston Tomorrow I’m back to Houston for a check up again. I’m expecting all will go well. Last week, I mistakenly opened my calendar to last November, and it brought back a barrage of memories as we approach the anniversary date of my diagnosis. Memories of phone calls, and standing in the doctor’s office watching other people blink away tears, distracting my mind to keep it from going down a bad road.
In the beginning, we thought I had a different form of cancer that was not responsive to chemo and radiation. If that had been true, and if it had metastasized, there would have been no treatment. They would have only treated my symptoms until I died. It would have been really easy to head down a bad path mentally, and there were a few moments I did. BUT, that wasn’t the truth. God’s peace and provision superseded our understanding of the facts. He is good, and worthy to be praised. And even if those had been the facts, even if that would have been the reality we had to face, He’s still good. As children of God, death does not bring suffering and pain. It brings full understanding of the true goodness of God, his love, his peace, his joy. I have to remind myself of this.