One of the things we discussed with our teens during E-TEAM is the need to saturate ourselves with God’s Truth so as to be able to discern truth from lies. In this spiritual warfare we are in, our enemy’s most powerful tool is deception. It has been so from the beginning, since the serpent deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Lies come in many packages, and from many places, but they resemble (or contain) truth. Just pick up any magazine or tabloid and you’ll find distortions of reality, from photoshopped cover photos to exaggerated stories. Turn on the T.V. and you are immediately bombarded with the pressures of advertising and the worldly values present in any show or movie you watch. Even news (and counter-news) is presented from someone’s take on the subject. Are you able to discern where a reporter or documenter or advertiser is coming from? Can you detect the values behind anything you watch as “entertainment” and analyze whether they line up with God’s values?
Sadly, we have been so influenced by media and tradition in our culture, that we perpetuate values in the church that are not from the heart of God. Materialism, self-reliance, self-preservation, and a host of other cultural values have become so ingrained in our society that we Christians have confused them with gospel truth. And we have found ways to justify them using parts of scripture.
You know, the Pharisees did the same thing in Jesus’ day. They twisted God’s law to justify certain behavior, to make themselves wealthy and comfortable, and to make themselves look good. They were prideful in their self-righteousness. They gloated that God was pleased with them, when in reality they were the most wretched in God’s eyes. Just listen to Jesus’ scathing condemnation of the Pharisees in Matthew 23. Ouch! Hits close to home.
So what’s the point? The point is that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” The only way that we can overcome the constant bombardment of lies and deceit in this world (and in our hearts, and even in the church) is to daily expose ourselves to God’s Word. And not just part of it–ALL of it.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to speak His truth into our lives and change us from the inside out. There are ways in which we are deceived–we must allow Him to reveal that to us. There are lies that we have embraced–we must allow Him to take those lies and replace them with Truth. Only then can we walk in the light as He is in the light.