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Who are You Listening to?

I love the Lord.  But does it really make a difference what I watch, the music I listen to, or the internet sites I go to?  Even though it was written 2000 years ago, Paul’s letter to the Galatians still speaks to us today.

You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
Galatians 5:7

You were running a good race – past tense.  That sounds ominous.  The question is; how are you going to finish?  After all, it’s not about how you started off your race, it where you finally end up.

Paul sees that these people had left the path.  The problem is that it doesn’t take much.  You could be only one degree off course, but after traveling in that direction for a while, you could be miles away from your planned destination.

They had let someone cut in on them.  They allowed somebody to lead, who wasn’t supposed to.  Because of that, they were losing the truth.

The word, obey, literally means to be convinced, assured or confident in.  So what Paul was saying is that by listening to this person, they were losing confidence in the truth they originally received from the Apostle.  Why was this happening to them?  Could it happen to you?

That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
Galatians 5:8-9

The issue is that now there are two signals being followed.  There’s the One who calls us – the Holy Spirit.  But there’s also someone trying to take us in a different direction.  This is where we start leaving the path.

The problem starts when we don’t listen with a critical ear.  What do I mean by that?  I’m talking about being convinced that Scripture and what the Holy Spirit has taught me is the truth.

Unfortunately, there are Christians who will hear something different.  Then their first thought is, “It sounds logical.  I wonder if that’s true.  I’ll have to think about that.”  When you think like this, you’ve allowed someone to cut in front of you.

Critical thinking doesn’t allow for that.  When you hear a teaching that doesn’t line up with the Word, you immediately label it as a lie.  You can then, through prayer and the study of Scripture, receive insight and understanding as to exactly why this teaching is not the truth.

Paul talks about this in regards to the spiritual weapons we’ve been given.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

This is what has to happen with the lies that bombard us each day.  The media provides a constant stream of ideas that, left unchecked, will ruin our faith.  We must be on our guard to protect the truth that we’ve received.

I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view.  The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.
Galatians 5:10

The truth beats the lie every time.  I believe that these Galatian Christians came back to their senses after hearing the truth in this epistle.  I also believe the same for us.  Being forewarned is being armed and ready.

Question: How is a half-truth worse than a total lie?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Devil and the Word of God

TowerIn my last post I talked about the lies of the devil.  We saw that, according to Jesus, the enemy cannot hold the truth neither is there any truth in him at all.

Understanding this gives us insight into how the devil operates.  He speaks lies, sometimes by making true statements.  We need to understand this as we look at an encounter between Christ and the devil.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Matthew 4:5-6

This verse is important in understanding the relationship between the Bible and the Word of God.  Here we see the devil quoting the Bible correctly.  He even used it in context.  The verse is from Psalm 91 which we all know is about the protection of God for the Messiah and us.

Now, it’s time for the tough question.  In quoting the Bible, was Satan speaking the Word of God to Jesus?  Be very careful how you answer this.  It’s the basis for understanding how the Word of God works in us.

Jesus clearly taught that Satan could not hold the truth neither was there any truth in him at all, yet it is clear that he has the Bible memorized.  We know that the devil only quotes the Scripture when it suits his purpose to try and deceive us.  His use of Scripture is actually a lie – according to Christ Himself.

As I said previously, we get so caught up asking the wrong questions.  We should be asking, what exactly is the Word of God to me?  I need a Word from heaven.  How do I know what that Word is?  When Jesus heard the Scripture from the mouth of Satan, He totally rejected it as a lie meant to trip Him up in His walk with the Father.

Then what is the Scripture?  It is the written record of the Word of God, given to various people, at different times, under different circumstances and for many purposes.  I have to ask, is what I’m reading God’s Word to me?  The answer to that is both yes and no.

There are some scriptures that have nothing to do with me or what I’m going through.  There are others that the Holy Spirit can use to speak to me.  That’s the key.  What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?  Very often He will use Scripture to speak to believers.

But you must also understand that Satan will use Scripture as well.  That’s why it’s so very important that we learn to discern the voice of the Spirit.  The Bible is a spiritual book and must be read prayerfully.

Question: How has God spoken to you through the pages of Scripture?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Recognizing the Truth and the Lie

AppleThe Word of God is Truth.  Do we really understand how absolute this truth is?

The opposite of truth is lie.  Being able to recognize the lie is an important part of serving God.

Christ could see through the lies of the enemy and did so on many occasions.  Once, when upset by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Jesus said the following.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
John 8:44

Here Jesus clearly teaches about the devil and his relationship to the truth.  Is there a little bit of truth in the devil?  Absolutely not!  “He does not hold to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”

While studying this, I was convicted and had to repent of some things that I never thought of as sin.  Satan makes true statements from time to time if it suits his purposes.  But, according to this verse, saying true statements and speaking the truth are two different things in the Lord’s eyes.

The above passage implies that if you make a true statement, in order to get someone to believe a lie, then you are in fact lying.  That’s what got to me.

For instance, if I was heading out of the house on an errand, my wife might say to me, “Honey, there are some important bills that need to be mailed.”

Being the wonderful husband that I am, I would tell her that I’d be glad to do it.  So, with the best of intentions, I take the letters.  I go through the day and complete my errands without ever giving the letters a second thought.

Then when I arrive home, the first thing my wife asks is, “Did you mail my letters for me?”

Not wanting to get in trouble I reply, “Oh, I took those with me first thing this morning.”  My hope is that my true statement would lead her to believe that I had mailed the letters, when in fact I hadn’t.  I always thought I was speaking truth – at least in part.

According to Jesus, this isn’t the case.  The devil uses true statements to get us to believe lies.  Jesus said that he cannot hold the truth and there is NO truth in him.  So that when Satan speaks it’s a lie, even if his statement happens to be true at the moment.  Because of this, I had to repent of all the true statements I’ve made, trying to cover my tracks.

Of course my wife can usually see through it and immediately says, “I didn’t ask if you took the letters, I asked if you had mailed the letters.”  So, in most cases, I was caught anyway.  But the fact is that making true statements with the intent to deceive is the same as telling a lie.

Question: Have you ever experienced this type of lie?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Word of God

 

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