Lately, it’s really begun to get under my skin how phony people are. Seriously, it was not always this bad. Without question, truth is unfailingly difficult, but lately The Spirit of Bogus has reached epic proportions. 'Reality Television’ now dominates entertainment, providing us with a contrived patch-work of sound-bites that skew relational actualities. Fake news abounds. Podcasts blare at us, live-streaming opinions and vernacular of the lowest common denominator. Everyone wants to ‘speak their truth’, but they couldn’t find Truth with instrumentation ranging from the Hubble telescope to ground-penetrating radar.
In 2019 life is lived on Instagram or Facebook, and you are cordially invited to worship at the altar of this fabricated conceit. Meticulous ‘branding’ is the pretentious tyrant of the age. If I’m honest, I’ll admit I’m not immune. Having a website has made me second-guess everything I say; leery of the blow-back stirred up by expressing honest opinion, or, more dangerous yet, God’s opinion. Putting it mildly, this is a pompous age, dominated by the ostentatious but trivial. Sifting through the undulating waves of superficiality has become de rigueur for survival. Can you read between the lines? You’ve got to know who to trust and how far. Not without cause Has Jesus already warned us that end-times will be characterized by a wave of delusion.
Shockingly, so much of what we learn in life is how to lie at the right time, in the right way. Of course, it’s not presented that way, but a lot of social grease on the wheels of life involves an active manipulation of the truth. The concept of being ‘nice’ is really presenting a respectable response to people after we’ve carefully controlled and concealed what we really think. This is not the same as “love one another” (1 John 4:7, John 13:34, 1 Peter 1:22, Romans 12:1), so let’s not be idiots. Assess the stockpile of deceit; ‘the little white lie’, prevarication, hypocrisy, dishonesty, dissimulation, guile, sham, fraud. There’s no question we are deep in a battle with the ‘Prince of the Power of the Air’ (Ephesians 2:2), and we’d better not forget it for a second. Truth is actually measured by an inner calibration of one’s spirit; consequently, if you are not born again, re-united to the Spirit of God, Truth, and the territory of the authentic are always going to be problematic for you.
Deception, however, is not a new phenomenon. From time immemorial, the marketplace has been a circus of sharp-dealing, shell-games and loaded dice. When systems of currency became widespread practice, a simple, but ingenious device was used to detect fraudulent coinage. To test a coin’s purity, it was drawn across a piece of black basalt called a touchstone. The color left behind gave clue to any inferior metals present. The touchstone was critical in demonstrating what was truly genuine, with the easiest of methods.
Despite the multiplicity of agents of Darkness, we possess a touchstone of magnificent simplicity. With it, we may test the words, actions and atmosphere swirling around us. The Word of God is our unfailing benchmark for what is good, true, authentic and virtuous. It tells us clearly what substance originates in the Godhead, and what dark matter is manifesting through Satan’s kingdom. In fact, the Lord tells us that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away…” (Matt 24:34, 5:18). Scripture is the acid test upon which anything may be tested.
He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:44-6
How many times has some situation deeply disturbed me, revolving with cement-mixer sludge in my mind as I go over and over the different angles of it? I have a gift for analysis, so these are the things that can keep me awake at night. It never fails to surprise, how the blessed peace that passes understanding comes over me when I suddenly stumble across something in God’s Word that speaks to the whole circumstance, bringing striking clarity. With one word, He rebukes the tangle, resolving the question of how I should proceed; at the same time calming my spirit with conviction. It’s just marvelous how the gloom and doom get dispelled and joy floods in again. In these moments, you truly know you have a Savior. We have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Developing the discipline of devotional reading of Scripture on a regular basis is one of the most powerful and pervasive safe-guards against being beguiled that you can encorporate. The investment of it yields dividends beyond measure. How many times has the Lord prepared me for the difficulties of a season to come, by loading my spirit with wisdom in advance? How many times have I inadvertently stockpiled weapons and ammunition in reserve against an evil day, simply by spending time in His presence, often wandering without agenda through familiar verses? I could go on and on about His provision and protection, given sweetly and easily to those who will tarry in His Word.
There is power actively penetrating the false and deceptive. The Lord and His Word are Faithful and True. In an age when our trust, hope, faith have been deeply, fatally undermined by falling idols and institutions, political snake-oil salesmen and other powerful charlatans, there is no substitute. Are you aware of, and functioning in, this great privilege? Don’t stumble around, stubbing your toe on unseen evils. Turn on the light!
…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened… Ephesians 1:17-18
Photo by Bing