September 25, 2017
I remember very clearly my first encounter with “style” in elementary school… I was in 1st grade. I’m fairly sure that I had not spent one moment of my very short life up to that point worrying about or caring about what I wore. (This proves that things come full circle.) Whatever happened to be in my dresser or strewn about on the floor of my room went onto my buff, 6 year old, Arnold “Schwarzenegian” body. At some point, not too far into my first academic year, I noticed that I was the only boy in my class who was wearing suspenders. (I know… you need say no more.) All the other boys had belts. I began to feel peculiar about it, so I went and asked my dad if he would buy me a belt. I don’t remember his exact words but they were something like, “No, you have a perfectly good pair of suspenders, you don’t need a belt.” Keep in mind that my father’s generation thought much more about “functionality and finances” than they did about their children’s social status. So I spent the remainder of that year as a first grade pariah with suspenders. I guess they must have broken by 2nd grade because I have no memory of ever wearing them again. Nor do I have any recollection of the relief or exultation that should have come with my new “rank.”
I can’t possibly know the answer to this question but I wonder how many times in my life I have put on my belt? I mean, it has to be thousands… even 10’s of thousands! Last week I was adding to those numbers by looking into the mirror as I tried to thread my belt through the pant loops. On most occasions I can put my belt on in the dark. Do you think I could do that by gazing at the reflection? Not for a second. I finally had to turn away and allow my hours and hours of experience over the past… well, post-1st grade years… to take over.
Sometimes when the truth seems to be right in front of us, it’s only a deceptive reflection. The real truth is just the opposite of what we think. Too often in the faith, I fear we accept the “deceptive reflection” without seeking after “real truth.” We just allow ourselves to operate on “spiritual auto-pilot” doing things the way we always have; not realizing that the faith for believers is about our constant transformation; continual morphing.
I wonder how many Christians would say they do their best to follow the teachings of Jesus and yet they have not cracked open a Bible since I last wore suspenders? They are simply doing and believing what they always have. Keep in mind that this is not about a guilt trip over whether you are reading your Bible. I am asking this question. How can one possibly know what the “truth” of Jesus is if we are not becoming more and more familiar with what He said?! I think the answer is obvious.
A few verses about “truth.”
John 8 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Luke 20:21 So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
I wonder how many things we have believed in our lives that we have considered to be bedrock, indisputable truth, only to discover they are not true at all? I can remember one silly thing. When I was 5 years old, I spent Monday-Friday with my grandmother who lived next door to us. Both of my parents worked and my older sisters were in school. On one occasion I was chewing gum and I grew weary of it so I swallowed it. My grandmother took that opportunity to tell me a story (as grandmothers are wont to do) about a little girl who swallowed her gum all the time. She died and when they cut her open they found that she was full of gum! Needless to I say I immediately quit swallowing my gum and it was years before I knew this story to be untrue. Need I even mention more substantial things like the earth being flat, or the sun orbiting the earth? Or more mundane things like, “Eat your bread crust and it will give you curly hair.” Or (my mother to me) “eat your peas and it will put hair on your chest.” 🙂
WE AS “BELIEVERS” MUST CONTINUALLY SEARCH FOR THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE!!! Not the Jesus of our childhood. Not the Jesus of our own invention. Not the Jesus of our own desires. Not the Jesus of our culture. Not the Jesus of our political persuasions. Only the Jesus as revealed in Scripture. There are no valid alternatives to this for Christian people. None! If we look elsewhere or don’t look at all, we will surely get fooled by a “deceptive reflection.”
Seek truth… seek Jesus.