Monday, June 23, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Looking At Truth In "Spirit Blade- Chapter 2"

In what ways might the daily events and choices in your life be similar to a battle fought in war? In what way can the results of those choices be the same as the outcome of a battlefield encounter?

In the song "Soldiers", the chief metaphor is a military one. But although this is reflected in the Bible, we should be careful never to view other people as the enemy in the battle for what is right. Isaiah quotes Ephesians 6:10-12 to identify the true nature of this "spiritual warfare".

Ephesians 6:10-12 - A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

In verses 13-17 of Ephesians 6, the author uses the military metaphor to describe how we can prepare for the unseen spiritual battles we face every day. And the first peice of equipment mentioned is a "belt of truth". If we don't start with truth and give it the ultimate value in our lives, every other peice of equipment will just slide and fall right off of us. Without the existence of absolute truth, nothing is certain and nothing can have definitive purpose or value.

So what is absolute truth? Absolute truth is that which is actual and conforms to reality. It is the same for everyone and is completely unaffected by the beliefs of groups or individuals. This analytical and logical view of truth has been the universal basis for learning in the areas of science, history, mathematics, linguistics and any other number of fields.

The idea of "relative truth" claims that each individual somehow creates truth for themselves, allowing for multiple contradicting beliefs to simultaneously be true. Although on the surface, this idea can feel welcoming and tolerant, when examined logically it falls apart. If the individual creates his/her own reality, then the individual becomes more powerful than the god/higher-power they create, making worship of such a being pointless. Self-centeredness is the outcome.

We might also ask ourselves why we choose to use a different system of thinking when it comes to spiritual matters, compared to the way we process information in every other area of learning? Does this make any sense? Or are we simply avoiding real confrontation of these issues because they bring us discomfort to think about and discuss?

Maybe that discomfort is worth it. Most religions include a solution of some kind to the problem of death. The latest studies show that 10 out of 10 people will die. This is a real problem. As real as it gets. If we want to deal with it, we'll need real answers. Not ideas that help us avoid the issue and make us feel good for now, but answers that are just as real as the fact of death.

We might conclude that God will be content if we are sincere in our beliefs, whatever they may be. But God values absolute truth more than anyone! Every good thing we are capable of enjoying in life ultimately comes from him. And when we don't acknowledge him, or give someone/something else the credit instead, he understandably finds that ungrateful response to be offensive.

It's true that God will let us believe whatever we want:

Romans 1:21-25 (NLT) Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.

But ultimately, God wants more than sincerity from us. A sincere belief in something sincerely wrong doesn't count for anything where God is concerned:

Acts 17: 29-31 (NLT) And since this is true, we shouldn't think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people's former ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.

Isaiah and the members of the liberation are looking for real answers. They're tired of just thinking good thoughts and living in denial. They want to know as much as they can about how the universe works, who is in charge, and what their roles are as individuals. The answers on this journey don't come quick or easy. They shouldn't be oversimplified and will usually come with a cost. Usually the cost is our own comfort. But the reward is more than just a nice thought to help us sleep at night. The reward is real.

As you listen to Chapter 2 of "Spirit Blade", we'll leave you with some questions to ponder:

What do you think Isaiah meant when he said, "To even say 'truth is not absolute' is a statement of absolute truth'?"

What might a spiritual decision or "faith" have in common with a high stakes bet?

What might you do (legally, of course) to ensure placing the right bet on a sports team, or a race? Can you do the same thing to ensure a good choice of spiritual belief? How?

Why do you think Isaiah wanted Merikk to make his decision of belief with both his heart and his mind? What would be wrong with making a decision like this with just one or the other?

Next Week: Paul and Silas Do Time In The Slammer! (Acts Chapter 16)

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