Filter it out

The more I get into the Bible and good teaching, the more I’m convinced that in it are the words most worthy of our attention. I’ve heard it being said for years, but lately it’s becoming more real to me.

We live in a world where our attention is the scarce resource that everyone is competing for, and it can get confusing when we hear so many voices saying different things. If we listen to these dissenting voices enough, we can become confused and unsure of what to think. What we need is solid ground to stand on. But what we feed ourselves is often a far cry.

We feed our minds so much stuff every day, often without realizing it. All the media we consume, whether from entertainment, news, the internet, or other people, has an influence on the way we think and the way we live, like it or not. Just like we can’t expect six-pack abs if we only eat too much and exercise too little, we can’t expect to live lives that are distinct from the world if we keep consuming its information diet.

I believe that the Bible is the source of all the truth that we’ll ever need in our lives. Many people agree with me on that point intellectually, but aren’t so sure when it comes to real life. I myself am often tempted to subscribe to what I hear in the media over what God has said, because what God said often doesn’t seem to fit what I see in real life every day.

In contrast, the media seems to know what they’re talking about. They have reporters whose entire job is to find out what happened. They have experts on every topic that they may choose to cover. They have people with years and years of experience in the field making intelligent comments. Me? I have a book. A book written a really long time ago.

There’s a disconnect. But there’s a way to get across – faith.

Hebrews tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of the unseen. We can apply that to God’s existence, certainly, but we can apply it to every day too.

By faith:

  • I believe that the trials I face are molding me into the person I was created to be, the person who looks more like Christ.
  • I believe that our struggle against immorality in the world are not a matter of eradicating wrongdoing, but a matter of bringing down spiritual strongholds through prayer.
  • I believe that redemption is available to everyone and anyone who calls upon the name of Jesus, and that no one is ever too far from the love of God.
  • I believe that if I follow where Christ leads me, I will never lack for anything.
  • I believe that if the media says one thing and the Bible says another, the media is wrong.

But how do we make that leap from knowing it in our heads to living it in our lives? Ay, there’s the rub. I can make analogies, but those analogies are only a picture of what that leap looks like. There’s no twelve-step process to living by faith. It’s something that we simply need to decide.

The best way I’ve been able to explain it is this: let’s say I have two friends, Robert and John, who are arguing. When I talk to Robert, it sounds like he has some pretty good points, and I agree with his side of the story. Same deal when I talk to John – he seems pretty reasonable, and I agree with what he’s saying.

At some point, I’m going to have to decide which friend I will side with. Realizing that both sides are probably spinning it their own ways, I eventually must decide to support Robert or John, or walk away from both. Let’s say I side with John.

What happens now? Anytime Robert says something that contradicts what John said, because I’ve already sided with John, I must reject what Robert told me. I may have had many reasons for siding with John, but regardless of the merit of my decision, once I’ve decided to support John, I have to reject anything Robert says that runs contrary to John’s story.

In the same way, once we’ve decided to believe what the Bible says, we must relentlessly reject anything that says otherwise. No matter how much sense it seems to make and how little sense the Bible’s version seems to make, we must reject anything that runs contrary to God’s Word.

In the friends example, it could turn out eventually that I was wrong to support John. And theoretically, it’s possible that I could be wrong in believing the Bible.

But why did I support John? Probably a combination of things – I know him better, I like him more, I’d rather stay friends with him than with Robert, and/or he’s been more trustworthy in the past.

I choose the Bible because it’s proven itself true in history, it’s proven itself true in my life, and I’d rather go with Jesus than with anyone else. After all, Jesus gives us assurance. No one else offers 100%.

 

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