Focus: Knowing what you believe is the truth
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.
When we were children, we learned to play the game of ‘gossip’ at the school I attended. I remember sitting in a circle on the linoleum floor in my classroom, as the teacher explained the ‘game’. She told us that she would begin by whispering a few words in the ear of the person she sat next to, and then each person around the circle would repeat what they thought they heard to the person seated on the other side of them, until everyone in the circle had been ‘whispered to’. The ‘last person’ would tell the rest of us the words they thought they had heard whispered into their ear. Of course, the words were never the same as the ones the teacher had spoken at the beginning.
It was just a childhood game, and yet a profound example of what the continual re-interpreting of ‘freedom’ in our land has done to change the concept of ‘liberty’ into ‘tolerance’. As one person’s or group of people’s right to express their freedom is condoned—the rights of many others are reduced, as they are forced to accommodate rights they don’t embrace themselves…and what really happens in the process is, some of our own liberty is lost, limited, or re-interpreted.
These are days when we have to hold fast to what we believe. As we see traditional values being challenged, we should be thinking more than ever about what is important to us and what freedom truly is…or what it was meant to be in the first place.
In the same way, while many people are being duped into a position of compromise, we should not be influenced by what we see happening all around us, when it comes to where we stand with God. We are bombarded on every side with liberal morality as it is promoted through music, advertising, movies, television, and yes, even politics.
Before you start thinking I’m going to be writing an essay on patriotism, I want to shift gears somewhat to the Word of God and how much it, too, has been stretched and squeezed to conform to today’s standard of morality and modern convenience, through re-interpretation.
So much of what we believe has to do with the presentation we’ve been given of the Word of God through the pulpit and through the many translations or versions of the Bible that are available to us. As I do research to find Bible verses to support and add clarity to some of the topics I write about, I often notice a vast difference in the meaning one particular Bible translation gives, compared to what another translation might have to say. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe they could be considered the same verse. At those times, I go to the interpretation of the original text from the Greek or Hebrew, in order to make a decision about what version is most accurate.
Some people view ‘faith’ as a kind of ‘blindness’…an unwillingness to be open-minded. Truthfully, faith is a paradox. On one hand, ‘faith’ can be interpreted as ‘what we believe’, and on the other hand, faith is the willingness to believe for the impossible to take place.
One day, we will all stand before God to give an account of what we have done with our lives and what our faith enabled us to do with the time we had here. Much of what we do, or don’t do, will be determined by what we believe. What we have to be careful about, is that we have based our faith on actual truth and not what we have come to believe because of what we have seen or been told. If we live by what we see as acceptable according to the world’s standards—we will not be able to justify ourselves to a just God. The standard He will judge by, is His Word, His righteousness, His holiness, and His heart of mercy and grace. If a person has drawn their standard for living from the media and general observation—they will be very disappointed on that day.
We are all without excuse when it comes to whether we know, or don’t know what the Word of God really says. If we haven’t bothered to study it—we won’t be able to live according to what it teaches us. We will be driven here and there by every wind of doctrine that comes along, without even realizing that’s what’s happening to us.
If you are in a place of discouragement, you have more of a reason than ever to dive head first into the words of comfort and encouragement that can be found in the Bible. You may not have a lot of energy, but would you receive a ‘love letter’ from someone who deeply cared about you and not bother to open it, due to lack of energy? Let’s face it, we make time and find the energy to do the things that are important to us. If we don’t feel like it—we should do it anyway, out of gratitude and hope that God will bring us through our present circumstances. How else will we be convinced of who we are in Christ and what we believe, unless we know what it says?
Declaration: I will find new strength as I find the heart to seek God in His Word—first hand.
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