This morning when I was doing my Bible study, this verse jumped out at me: 2 Thess 2: 10b They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (NIV)
Now, obviously, if you read 2 Thessalonians this passage is talking about people who reject God, however, I think there’s a principle there that you see applied to believers throughout Scripture: loving the truth saves us from more than just hell. It’s like that passage where Paul talks about how a little yeast spreads throughout the whole dough (Gal 5:7-13). I have that marked in my journal along with a note about how the lies I believe can affect more than just the areas they seem to be related to.
It’s so easy to believe lies. Lies the culture tells us. Lies the people in our lives tell us. Lies our pasts tell us. Lies we tell ourselves. And lies lead us into dangerous situations, places we don’t want to end up. It was so crazy: last week I was shelving our Bible study books, and I came across this study I did a few years ago on moderation by Dee Brestin. It was a good study, but the reason I chose that particular study was because I felt out of control in my eating habits. Looking back though, I can see that I felt so out of control because I had been dieting for so long that my body was literally starving. So the healthy solution was to eat more, rather than eat less. But because I believed various lies, I thought my hunger showed a lack of self-control. Lies can get us crazy places.
The story I’m currently working on is about two realities that intersect and a character that’s stuck travelling between the two. It’s actually coming out of a recurring nightmare that I’ve had for over a decade. In my dream, I’m shifting realities, and I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not–sort of Thirteenth Floor-ish if you’ve seen that movie.
I hate situations where I have no clue who or what to believe. It’s actually why if you were to ask my what my favorite attribute of God’s is, I would answer His transcendence. I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to me that God has a third-person perspective on reality and can tell me what is actually true.
Anyway! Getting back to loving the truth. I think there’s something there. It’s more than just accepting the truth or tolerating the truth. Loving the truth seems to involve actually spending time with it–pursuing and hanging onto it. I was reminded of that old sermon illustration about banks and how they train tellers to tell the difference between real money and counterfeit money–not by having them study counterfeits, but by having them study real money. If I really love the truth and know it in every fibre of my being… if I revel in it to where it’s deep in the essence of who I am, I’m not going to accept lies.
But there’s also something there about wanting the truth too. I think this is the hardest thing for me. There are lies I believe because I want to believe them, because the truth is so hard and so painful that the lie seems preferable. Anybody else have that problem? But I’ve learned that avoiding those truths is actually sacrificing the future for the sake of false-comfort in the present.
One way I’ve been trying to put this into practice in my life (which I may or may not have already shared here) is to use my journal. I’ve kept a journal since junior high. The past several years it’s gradually evolved into a place where I write the things I’m learning–whatever God showed me in my Bible study, things that hit me from sermons I’ve heard, books that I’ve read, random events God uses as object lessons, etc., etc. Anyway! Writing it down has helped me remember things quite a bit, but last Fall I started starring important entries and then reading back through those entries almost every day. It really grounds me in what’s true, in who I am and who I want to be.
It’s clear from this verse that we have a choice whether or not we love the truth. May God show us the lies we’re believing and help us to choose to love the truth.