Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bringing the ship of our minds safely to harbor

Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3 NASB)

The Pharisees plotted in secret, but Jesus took the offensive into the open. Beware, He told the crowds. The word translated as "beware" is prosechō and is the same word used to describe the action of bringing a ship into dry land safely. In this instance, it means "to hold". What Jesus was saying to His listeners was, "Pay attention and protect your mind. Hold it as a treasure." 

Commentators expound their views on the news; celebrities voice their opinions on talk shows; popular "religious" leaders pronounce their brand of faith in the media. They all speak as if their platform makes what they say worth hearing. They are paid to talk. They have to say words. Sometimes their words are worth hearing. Most times, they're not. 

It is as easy for leaders to make false assumptions and go in a wrong direction as it is for you and me. Our lives were never meant to be patterned after those around us. Our lives are to be patterned after Christ. We have an instruction manual already, and it's called the Bible. 

Jesus was not saying that we should ignore wise counsel or that all those in leadership positions (no matter what kind of leadership they have) are to be disdained. What Jesus was saying is that we should pay attention to what is being said before we embrace it. Don't just embrace words, look at actions. Don't just embrace actions. Judge them by the plumb line of Scripture.

When charismatic speakers deliver lovely words in a touching manner, it is easy to be drawn in to their rhetoric. If the words evoke emotion, it is not uncommon to assume that the emotion has come because their words are truth. If we want to walk in truth, we must judge everything by the standard of truth. 

What is truth? Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me," He is truth. (John 14:6 NIV) If what a speaker says does not line up with what Jesus said, we must discard it, no matter how compelling the words may be. 

It sounds strict, doesn't it? Jesus was full of love and compassion for those of us, like me, who find sin so easy and obedience so hard. When it came to truth, however, He was deadly serious. So serious He died to give us His truth, His way, His life. He isn't being mean or trying to limit our access to the world. Jesus expects us to evaluate what we hear, what we see, and use the discernment God gives to decide if it is truth or not. 

The reason He was so firm about truth is so that we can guide the ship of our minds into the safe harbor of truth, avoiding all the dangers of false doctrine along the way.  Prosechō. Beware, lest we find ourselves docking where we never meant to be. 

Pursue truth. Hold it like a standard. Accept nothing less.

Coming attraction: a look at an 1841 list of causes of shipwreck and how to avoid shipwrecks in our lives.