“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
We are living in a society whose lines are blurred. Definitive truth has been laid aside. It is becoming increasingly difficult to know what is real from what is fake. People are interpreting their own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about the last days, he warned, “Evil people and imposters will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (II Timothy 3:13). It is a dangerous thing for anyone to be deceived and drawn away from the truth. Isaiah put it rather plainly in chapter 5:20-21, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” These words sadly reflect today’s society of blurred lines. So, our question for this week is, how are we to know the difference between what is light and what is dark, what is truth and what is a lie?
The FBI might be able to help us answer that question. They have an interesting way of training their agents how to tell a counterfeit bill from a real one. They help the trainees develop their skills by having them spend countless hours intensely studying genuine bills. They then slip a counterfeit one in, and instantly the agent can detect the flaws. The counterfeit is obvious to them because they have spent innumerable hours looking at the authentic.
That is exactly how we can train ourselves to not cross the blurred lines in our society, by spending countless hours studying the truth God’s word gives us. Paul also wrote in Philippians 4:8, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Much like the FBI agents who saturate their minds with the genuine, if we saturate our minds with the genuine truth of God, we will be able to spot a lie when we hear or see it. The Holy Spirit will send a message to us, telling us that something is wrong. He will reveal to us what is genuine and what is counterfeit. It takes time, commitment, and effort to do this. That is why Paul told us to “fix” our thoughts on these things in Philippians 4:8. Fix is a Greek word that means “to occupy yourself with these thoughts. To put these things together in your mind.” We cannot take the truth of God’s word carelessly. God’s truth gives us defined lines so we can know truth from a lie, the real from the fake, the right from the wrong. But that takes spiritual and mental concentration. However, if we are willing to exercise the discipline to do it, we will know the truth, and it will set us free.