true living (a two-parter)(part 2: and nothing but the truth)
although we possess the One Truth of God, there are many “truths” in this world to counter it. there are countless lies, confusions, and misleading thoughts concocted by Satan to trip and deceive us. these false teachings even extend themselves into the Christian world, making them even more discreet and hard to distinguish. in fact, some of the most dangerous lies in this world are the ones that seem the most like the Truth.
in talking about the Armor of God, the Truth is described as the belt of the outfit; the central aspect. it is the Truth that holds our doctrine, our theology, and our faith together. without the Truth, the outfit is a failure (and our pants fall down) and anything else leads to destruction. we can’t expect to use a Truth that does not fit or cannot hold the weight and expect a successful result.
if there’s one thing i hate more than cliches, it’s ambiguity in language. i hate that “drinking” can mean getting intoxicated. i hate that language can mean profanity. and i really, really hate that someone can say “how’s it going?” without actually asking a question (or someone assumes so). double and unclear meanings can make the English language seem like a foreign language to a natural speaker. as an entrusted handler of Truth, i try my best to make sure when i am speaking, i am getting the message across with out confusion, even when i am talking about something less than the Truth (but not when i’m trying to mess with somebody).
one way we mess with the Truth (somebody might hate me for this) is analogies. now, i know that analogies are an effective teaching tool and everybody has their own, but, as with most good things, you can have too much. i’ve listened to sermons that seemed liked nothing but analogy and walked away thinking, what the heck did he just say? as i cleverly worded earlier, analogies are teaching tools and not lessons in themselves. you don’t rest a hammer on a nail and consider the job done (hey, i just made one up myself!). metaphor is a way to get a particular message across in a more useful and interesting manner, as straight doctrine can be hard to swallow (there’s another one!).
it is especially dangerous using analogies just because they are “cool.” i’ve actually heard people say, “yea, i don’t really remember the message, but there was there was this one story the speaker had that was really cool.” what happens when someone is trying to explain the concept of loving your neighbor, but all they have is the story of their pastor’s childhood fishing trip? sometimes, even the analogy itself is misleading. the phrase “it kinda fits” scares me a bit. my dinner is also “kinda” poisoned, but it should be alright.
i can imagine that maybe people are thinking, joel, are you nuts? Jesus himself came up with analogies. true, indeed, but this is also the guy who was the “Word made Flesh.” Jesus, the Supreme Handler of Truth kinda gets carte blanche when it comes to the spreading of Truth. He knows what He’s talking about; not saying we can’t have some understanding of Truth, but we’ll never know everything (thank the Lord).
the Truth is not something to be messed with. we cannot risk not having Truth as God designed it. there is so much temptation to “adjust” Truth, to make it more understandable, more tolerable, more explainable, but that is not how it works. this is not a sleep number bed we can adjust to our liking, this is the basis for all reality, rooted in God’s Supremeness and Unchangingness. if we have His Truth, that is exactly what we have, and nothing more.