As I stood in my living room today, during the briefest moment of silence in my hectic life, I felt the fog lifting. It’s only in these moments if relief that I realize that I’ve been listening to lies. Believing and living in things that are not true. False doctrine.
Now when I hear the term false doctrine I think of the puritanical preachers of old railing about the blackness of sin and false teachers. I think of Waco, Texas and what’s become a cliche, “drinking the koolade”. But that’s not exactly what that term means. False simply means wrong, and doctrine is a belief that shapes the way you live your life. When we break it down that way we all have some false doctrine. I don’t say that to make it seem less severe, but to emphasise the severity of what we let influence the way we live.
Now we all begin running the obvious check lists: Do I spend too much time watching tv or listening to podcasts that don’t make much of Jesus? Do I listen to bad music? Do I let culture influence how I dress, what I eat, where I go?
But what about the less obvious: Have I allowed my culture to influence the way I see myself or the people around me? What are the doctrines that tell me how to make the decisions I make? Do I THINK like I actually believe the things I confess?
Or the downright hard ones: When’s the last time I’ve actually taken a hard and critical look into the motivation behind my actions? What does the view I have of the reality around me say about what’s in my heart? When’s the last time I fully felt an emotion and followed it through? Where did it begin? Where will it end? Is it based in truth, or in the lies I’ve chosen to believe as if they are true?
Questioning ourselves is terrifying! The clearest message I get from even the commercials around me is that if you can’t believe in yourself you can’t accomplish anything, go anywhere, or even know anything. That is probably the most confusing message I’ve ever heard! Especially as we press forward in the world of psychology and begin to realize that 7 out of 10 people (that we know of now) are affected by some form of “mental illness”. I’d be willing to wager it’s 10 out of 10. So how can we know that we know anything? That’s what makes this message so confusing (and actually scarry). We can’t.
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief.
Proverbs 14 : 12-13
This is where ultimate truth comes in. Now, those who don’t agree with me feel free to scoff, but there really isn’t a leg for you to stand on when it comes to a convincing argument. How do you look within yourself for answers when you are simply a complex pool of chemicals? How can you trust your perceptions when they are made through a lense often darkened by folly, shame, and regret? I have to lean into the truth that I have come to know for the direction and wisdom for sound doctrine that I need.
When I look out into a world less clouded, no matter how briefly, and see the beauty of the gracious life God has blessed me with, I have the promises of His word to hold this up against and sink into the enveloping peace that comes with knowing truth. Even when I can’t see clear of the struggles it’s these truths I cling to. When things are beautiful and perfect I can only boast in Him.
“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.Job 2:10