As I was trying on clothes in a dressing room at one of my favorite stores, I was initially pleased that I looked thinner than I had thought myself to be, yet I felt an internal dissonance because I had not done anything to lose weight and I was still wearing the same size as the last time I went shopping. Closer examination of the situation caused me to realize that the mirror was intentionally warped, causing shoppers to see themselves in a more positive light, thus liking the way they looked in the clothes and probably boosting sales. What appeared to be true…what I deeply wanted to be true…was not actually true. I was being “sold” on perception, not on truth. This perception, created from reality but extrapolated into a distortion, is essentially a masterful deception…a lie.
Once I realized I was being duped by a major “family” national chain of stores you’d think I walked out with nothing in my hands to protest the intended deception, but the truth is, I bought the clothes anyway. I liked them and I had no other way to look at myself in them but through the deceptive mirror. My mind had captured the image of the thinner me and I liked the way I thought I looked.
Lately the word “truth” is coupled with “your” or “my,” meaning that it is based purely on our own inner experience of feelings, intellectual interpretation, and desires for an outcome. People seemingly can create Truth, molding reality into whatever seems right to them. It’s the current, popular narrative of the culture. Trust yourself to determine Truth.
I am one who holds to the full sacredness and accuracy of the Word of God, but I carefully tune in whenever I hear the word ‘truth’ from any source. I want to hear what others have to say about it…not because I will necessarily believe what they say about Truth, but because I am fascinated by the diversity of its interpretation.
The more I hear people share “their truth” the more I am compelled to look at Scripture. The first directive in Philippians 4:8 tells believers to ”fix your thoughts on what is true,” which begs the question “what is truth?” How do I know what is true so I can focus on it? Just because someone says something is true doesn’t make it true, and I believe that lies are best hidden when couched in some truth. How does a believer test truth? The answer Christ gives is to carefully examine Scripture.
As Jesus prepared for His death, He prayed for His followers. It is documented in John 17:17 which says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” He is directly speaking to God the Father and stating that God is the one who determines what Truth is, and His Word (Scripture) is what He is referring to. Prior to that, in John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In this passage He claims to be the embodiment of Truth. So when you put these two statements together, it seems that Jesus is saying that He is the fulfillment of God’s word. He has the character of complete Truth and so His Word can be trusted. If you trust Christ for salvation, you can trust His words, which claim that God’s Holy Word (Scripture) is also complete Truth.
When searching through the lens of scripture, truth and falsehood are featured topics throughout several books of the Bible. God has a lot to say about Truth and uses strong language when talking about lies and liars. Scripture also gives many warnings about false prophets and false teachers. Jesus warns of those who will be false prophets disguised as harmless sheep but who have the malicious intent of wolves (Matthew 7:15). Colossians 2:4,8-9 says “I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.”
With that in mind, Christians need to spend time in the Word of God. Even though I have been through seminary, I have continued throughout the subsequent decades to be a life-long learner of God’s Word. There have definitely been dry spells and too-busy spells, but as a true follower of Christ I strive to not allow myself to stay stagnant for long. We crave truth and knowledge about God, and the best way to obtain it is to spend time in His Word, learning the truths He has conveyed to us in Scripture. II Timothy 2:15 says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
I know that there are people who identify as Christians who do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture and feel that the Bible is flawed. The debate can go very deep, and one can read several books or listen to many sermons or podcasts on the topic. I personally have resolved for myself that scripture is inerrant, and I daily look to it for the spiritual truths that guide my life and draw me closer to God, deepening my faith.
God’s word has been questioned and discounted throughout the span of time. The Fall of Man outlined in Genesis begins with questioning what God actually said. The serpent caused doubt in Eve’s mind… “Did God really say….?” And then told her ‘surely not!,’ followed by some deceptive reasoning to draw her into doing what she is tempted to do but knows is forbidden. Questioning God’s word, then not believing His word is what leads us away from Him and into following masterful deceptions.
What better trap is there from the Evil One than to cause us to doubt God’s word as Truth? What better strategy could there be than to convince people THEY are the makers of Truth and there is no absolute Truth? A simple doubt about God’s Word can tempt us to believe a lie that sounds, tastes, or looks good if we don’t examine it carefully for what it is. Like me in the dressing room with a deceptive mirror, we are tempted to believe a lie that can grow from a partial reality…a seemingly pleasant distortion of Truth.
God’s “Word is Truth” was stated by Jesus Christ Himself. If one doubts God’s Word to the point of willful disobedience, twists His Word to fit one’s own agenda, or denies His Word altogether, he is ultimately rejecting God.
My beliefs about God’s Word have been tested to uncomfortable measures. I know though, that no matter the test of my faith or the depth of the cost, I believe in God’s Truth. Where do you look for Truth? Christians are warned over and over again to beware of deception. The answer is to use God’s Truth accurately to avoid “being captured”.