“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”
Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. Lisa Lou exists to provide “commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.” We give you the tools you need so you are empowered to make informed decisions. With our mission in mind, I will dive into these deep waters as we seek to find truth in today’s world. I have divided this topic into four parts.
Part 1: God’s Formula for Seeking Truth.
Part 2: Know Your Foundation.
Part 3: Practical Application in Our Daily Life.
Part 4: Choosing Leaders.
Join me on this journey as we dive into God’s Word in part one, below.
At Lisa Lou, we are women of faith. Our foundation comes from our belief in God therefore, our decisions are filtered through what He teaches. When it comes to seeking truth, God has given us a clear, and simple formula to follow. We are to read His Word, pray, and seek Godly counsel. But it all begins with knowing God’s Word. How do we do this? The same way our national security teams learn to identify counterfeit money. They study truth.
Agents do not spend hours learning the nuances of fake bills. This would be a practice in futility because new counterfeits emerge continuously. There is one best practice learned to spot a fake. Study what is real. An agent can tell you every line, every crevice, every shadow on an authentic bill. They know every detail of genuine American money. It is only through their in-depth knowledge of the real, the truth, they can spot the lie. Even if a near perfect forgery crosses their desk, red flags will pop in their head and their conscious will whisper, “Something is not right.” They spot the lie because they know the truth.
As women of faith, we must learn where truth originates, and when we do, we then build our foundation on that truth. Once our foundation is in place, decision making becomes easier. Why? Because our decisions will be filtered through that foundation, and spotting a lie becomes less complicated.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV/emphasis mine).
What happens if you do not have a strong foundation? If you do not put the truth of God’s words into practice? You will stand on unstable ground, like a house built on sand. You will blow in the wind, wavering from one point of view to another. A person in one corner says something that makes sense, so you run to their side screaming, “I support this!” Then a person in the opposite corner says something different that also makes sense. You run to their corner yelling, “I now support this!” You forever sway back and forth because your foundation is not strong. You do not know what you believe. You trust in God, but you do not understand why you believe. You do not know the facts behind your faith. You do not know what God says on various topics. As the lyrics from Aaron Tippin’s country song say, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” If we do not stand on the truth of God’s Word, we will fall every time.
I am a Christian. I am a woman of faith. My foundation is built on the Bible. This means every decision I make is filtered through God’s Word. But to filter my decisions through His Word, means I must KNOW God’s Word. Just as the agents learned to spot a counterfeit by learning truth, we, too, must learn to spot a fake by knowing truth.
Learning truth means understanding all God’s truth. I cannot treat His Word like a puzzle. Too many Christians wrap their views in Bible verses that are pulled out of context to support their opinions. Sometimes this is done maliciously. Sometimes out of ignorance. I once taught an adult Bible study class and the lesson was on following God’s Word. I think the members felt their hearts skip a beat when I took scissors from my purse and began cutting passages out of the Bible. I thought they would fall to the floor when I crumpled those verses in my hand and threw them in the trashcan. GASP!!
I ask you, how is throwing parts of the Bible in the trashcan different than when we follow part of God’s Word, but ignore other parts? When we do this, we treat His Book as a loose-leaf binder. Imagine a Bible in a 3-ring notebook. Life might be easier if I could just spring open those rings and pull out the pages I do not like. How nice it would be to create the Bible WE want. One that fits OUR narrative.
When we set out to find truth, we need to prepare ourselves that what we discover may not fit our preconceived beliefs. I can find scientists, doctors, even theologians who support my opinion. Yet, God reminds me Satan “masquerades as an angel of light,” and the apostle Paul warns us we should not be surprised when “his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 NIV). How do we avoid those wolves in sheep’s clothing? How do we spot a lie? The same way the agents spot a counterfeit. We study TRUTH.
If we claim our foundation is in God, then how much time do we spend with Him? We can be Christians yet know little about what He teaches. People can be legally married yet have a distant relationship with their spouse because there is no connection. To know truth, to have a connection with God, we must study truth. We must invest in our relationship.
A friend grew up in a small church in West Texas, and he told me a story that occurred one Wednesday evening during service. His seasoned pastor preached a biblically incorrect sermon. The mistakes were subtle. So subtle, most would not notice. Knowing God’s Word on the subject, and after doing research, my friend approached his pastor to confront him about the error. The pastor’s response? “You are correct.” That Sunday, the pastor stood before his congregation and used the Wednesday night sermon as a lesson. “On Wednesday, I preached a sermon that sounded correct, but it had partial truths and subtle mistruths. Not one member in the congregation called me out. Not one deacon, not one trustee. Until a young high school student had the courage to tell me I was wrong.”
The pastor intentionally conveyed an erroneous sermon to teach his congregation that no one is to rely on others for God’s truth. We should have pastors we trust, and mentors we turn to, but we, alone, are responsible for knowing God’s Word. No matter how “holy” we perceive another person, we are human, flawed from the fall of man, and we all make mistakes. The only way we can spot the deceitfulness of the one masquerading as an angel of light is to be armed with the truth ourselves. As the apostle Peter warned us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV). (Side note: The pastor made sure only members were present that Wednesday, therefore visitors would not leave deceived. It was a small church, so he could pull this off. This is not a recommended practice, but the story serves the purpose for my point.)
What is God’s formula to find truth? Read His Word (so you can learn God’s instructions); Pray (so you can develop an intimate connection with Him); Seek Godly Counsel (so others can come along side to help guide you).
Read His Word: From beginning to end, we must learn God’s Word. He promises His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11). God’s Word brings light and produces fruit (John 6:63). His Word guides us in truth (Psalm 119:105).
I recently finished reading the Bible in chronological order. What I learned was immense, yet it left me realizing how little I know. I have now embarked on a second reading. This time I am color-coding what I learn. The discoveries being made are exhilarating. I spend 30-60 minutes each morning reading and researching. Do I have time each day to do this? No, but this is my goal. When we are tempted to tell God, “I don’t have time,” ask yourself, “Would I say that to my spouse or child?” Maybe, but it would not be long before our relationship would begin to deteriorate. Healthy families develop intimate relationships and make emotional connections by spending time together.
Changing our thought process, ask this question, “How much time did I spend on social media this week? Could I have given half of those minutes to God?” Time is about priorities. When a person says they do not have time it usually means, “I do not want to.” God gave each of us a free will. The beauty and devastation of this is our relationship with Him is left up to us. It will be as fulfilling or devoid as we make it. When we do not spend time in His Word, developing a connection with God becomes difficult, and it becomes even harder to decipher truth from fiction. Our foundation weakens, and we begin to blow in the wind. God calls us to be informed. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26 ESV). We are warned not to trust our own minds, create our own narrative. When we do, God says we are fools. We are called to walk in wisdom, which means a strong connection to God, and becoming knowledgeable in His truth.
Pray: God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him. He also promises He will lead us. I pray for God’s guidance, but not as much as I pray that He goes before me. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV/emphasis mine). A guide walks beside you, which God does, but if we ask Him, He will go before us. When I walk an unfamiliar path, I rather have someone in front of me. The leader clears the trail to make my way easier. He sees the landmines and tells me where to step to avoid danger. He directs my feet, so I do not get lost. He makes sure I reach my destination because only He knows the way.
When we read God’s Word and pray, we develop a deeper relationship with Him. It is through this connection I can clearly hear God’s voice. My husband and I have two dogs. They can be out of our sight in the woods, but when they hear our voice calling, they come running. But when a stranger calls, they ignore the whistle. Our dogs know us intimately. When we develop an intimate relationship with God, His voice becomes clear, and we learn to recognize His call, which aids us in ignoring the voice of the one that seeks to deceive.
Seek Godly Counsel: The third part of God’s formula for finding truth is seek Godly counsel. Many Christians leave this part out. They say, “I prayed about it, and I felt God was telling me to…” Or, “Well, when I read that verse, it really sounded like I was supposed to…” No matter how hard you work to assemble a puzzle, it will never be complete if pieces are missing. God is clear we are to seek Godly counsel when searching for truth. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15 ESV). The key point is “Godly” counsel. “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NIV/emphasis mine). God warns us not to receive counsel from those that do not follow Him. How do you know if the counsel you receive is truthful? When you have an intimate relationship with God, you know His truth, which enables you to spot the lie.
We now know how to seek truth based on God’s formula. Read His Word, pray, seek Godly counsel. Going back to the original questions from readers that prompted these blogs, how do we apply all this to our daily lives, politics, and the affairs of the world? Stay tuned for more answers in Part 2: A Christian’s Approach to Politics.
Together with you,