In last week’s video I introduced 5 questions that need answering for a person to have confidence in Christ. Today we’re addressing the first: “What is real/true, and how can I know?” As I also noted last week, this brief series is a precursor to the next series on Christian Joy. For, again, our hearts will only rejoice in the specifics of Jesus’ good news when our minds understand some of the basics. So, let’s keep it real and simple. There are at least 3 different but equally important aspects of ‘truth’. Of course, the person or thing in question must be real but also reliable and relevant. And we’ll take these one at a time, since each issue seems to be an ongoing struggle among many people today.
Ensuring the reality of a matter may seem like common sense, but it’s not. The late 19th and early 20th centuries in the West held that the foundation of life and progress should be reason and the scientific process: modernism. That era, however, (by design or circumstance) was marked by even more war, abuses and neglects of industry, gaps in socio-economics, etc. Thus, postmodernism held individuals’ present experience as the goal, not society’s rational pr gres. That’s oversimplified, but (pardon the pun) it’s true. Now, many Americans talk of “faith” not in the traditionally implied sense of faith in GOD but in the general sense of optimism for a more pleasant experience by the individual.
This new view is commonly expressed explicitly or implicitly in media, music, and literature: what you believe is not as important as that you believe. It’s faith in faith and hope in hope, not biblical thinking but wishful thinking. In the face of hard realities, individuals prefer belief (comfort) in better fantasies.
When we hear ‘reliability’, we might rightly think of good science. In proper research, a process is deemed (relatively) reliable when it has consistent results. But people are far from reliable as static factors or dynamic processes. For example, “All children have two biological parents” is an inherently true statement, but no parent (or child) is 100% reliable. The best of us sometimes forget promises, make mistakes, or are rerouted by demands beyond our control. So, many who had unreliable dads (negligent, abusive, or simply human) often project their experience onto their understanding of God
the Father and struggle with confidence in God. Sad, but again, true. And then there’s relevant truth.
Especially when we seem to have all we need, we don’t see the truth of Jesus as relevant. As I write this, I’m in Maryland two weeks before Christmas, and our upscale, snow-covered neighborhood is beautifully decorated…with images of Santa Claus, penguins, giant yellow minions, and other figures that have nothing to do with the Son of God coming in human flesh. Outwardly, there seems to be peace on earth without Jesus…until I hear people yelling at each other in some of those houses.
This week’s video provides lots of Scripture for discussion. Consider these, too.
* What are some of Paul’s foci on the reality of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:1-58?
* How does James encourage us in the reliability of Christ in James 1:12-18?
* Who is relevant to Jesus now and when He returns? (Matthew 25:31-46)
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.