You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
I have been asked to do a chapel service for one of our area Christian Schools. The topic I was asked to speak on is the cultural forces that hamper the life of the mind. Such a simple topic…. Not! Oh my, I could go in so many different directions on this topic, and in my mind I have. Think for just a moment on just some of the cultural forces that affect us: Why do we eat what we eat? Why do we wear what we wear? Why do we entertain ourselves with the means that we do? What is your view of marriage, living together, sex, abortion, politics, taxes, money and finances, and I could go on; where did they come from? What has influenced you more, the culture or God’s Word? Don’t you just hate questions like that? You see, our lives give testimony to what is the greater influence; to whom we are actually listening to. John 8:32 is one of the verses I rehearse over and over again in my words and heart. The big question for most, however, is what constitutes “truth”. If Scripture is not the truth to you, then you are hanging your life and proverbial hat on the culture around you and how you process that in your own mind. If Scripture is not the truth, as in absolute truth, then what passes for truth becomes squishy, subjective, and often conflicting. Have you ever found something you believed to be true in conflict with someone else’s definition or perception of truth? Truth must always have a standard, even if that standard is our own imagination.
Another consideration is what constitutes “freedom”. In so many cases, you and I are free to make our choices in how we live our lives, and what and who we choose to listen to… or who we allow to influence us. What we do not have the “freedom” of are the consequences or outcomes of those choices. Paul had something to say in this regard: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8 NIV84)
As a good Southern Baptist, I love fried chicken. I have the “freedom” to choose fried chicken for every meal… well, at least maybe for lunch (Jean isn’t a big fan of it… so much for total freedom); and our culture gives me lots of places and encouragement to partake of that choice. The truth is, it tastes good… at least to me; it’s finger licking good, and I love that chicken at Popeyes! But there is another truth, it is not all that healthy. If I maintain a steady diet of fried chicken, it is likely bad things are going to happen to my temple of the Holy Spirit. What looks like freedom on the one hand could result in a “slavery” to bad health and a big gut. God does have things to say about caring for our bodies; so who should we listen to?
You most likely have discovered the slavery of consequences in your life when you chose not to listen to and obey God. You’ve also, at least I hope and pray, have discovered the blessings of choosing to follow and obey the Lord. It’s not too late to choose to know and obey truth. God won’t always change our consequences, but his blessings more than make up for it. So, here’s the question: Are you free? Are you really?
What’s up: This Sunday I am asking and teaching on the subject: “Can I Sin and Still be a Christian?” Our text will be 1 John 3:4-10. Oh… and don’t forget our church picnic Wednesday (10/21). The weather is looking to be awesome! Have a wonderful and Christ-filled week.