Overcomer #4 – Discerning Truth from Deception
People have a tendency to believe something is true when it is not. Or they believe something is false when it is true. How can we sort out between true and false?
We are commanded: “But test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). In other words, we don’t indiscriminately accept everything that claims to be from God or claims to be true. What are best practices?
We use our heads to think. We seriously reflect, evaluate, weigh, examine. When someone tells us something that we’re not sure about, we test it. We don’t believe everything we hear. Do fact checking. Talk to the right people. We test statements to discern whether they are true or false. Measure them with the Word of God.
Sometimes we use our heads to discern a half-truth, which can be more destructive than a boldface lie. It sounds good. It could be true. Part of it is true. We think the rest must therefore be true. But the rest is false.
We use our hearts to pray. We ask the Holy Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth. Ask God to implant truth within our innermost beings. Ask God how we should consider new things. We open up ourselves to new things God may be doing in our generation. Yet we also keep on our guard, so that we don’t go astray.
In Albert Simpson’s day, founder of the C&MA, a renewal of biblical teachings on sanctification and the Spirit-filled life were taking place. Yet his emphases were not always welcomed.
When Simpson experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit, he said later that it was a lonely experience. What he meant was that some genuine brothers and sisters in Christ had a different understanding, and they distanced themselves from Simpson.
In Simpson’s day, a recovery of healing ministry was also taking place. Some took these biblical teachings out of balance.
Simpson was once encouraged to pursue healing as his primary ministry. He answered that he had four wheels on his chariot – Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.
Simpson responded to what the Spirit was saying to the churches in his era, and incorporated them into his theology and practice.
So, yes, we open up ourselves to what God is doing in our day. But we do not embrace everything wholesale without using our heads and our hearts to test and weigh all things to see whether or not they are from God. Test everything.
~ Pastor Dave