Messages constantly bombard us. Some reflect truth. Some don’t. Some start with a lie, but twist it enough so it sounds good. It resembles truth just enough to entice us to believe. To deceive us.
I subscribe to an online workout program. The other day, during the cool down of a workout, the leader said this:
“You are worthy of self-love, of radical self-acceptance: if you radically accept yourself as you are right now – because you are worthy – then you will enjoy life so much more and will naturally gravitate towards your highest self and find your deepest purpose.”
What do you think? Truth or lie? Fact or fiction?
Sounds good. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. Everyone wants to enjoy life and feel they are fulfilling their purpose.
Standard for Truth
But “sounding good” doesn’t necessarily make it true. So, of everything we hear in the world, of all the belief systems out there, how do we know what’s true and what isn’t?
Here’s the good news: We actually have a straight, true plumb line against which we can measure everything. It shows us what is straight and what is crooked. What is truth and what is fiction.
God’s Word – the Bible – is our standard for truth because it is truth (John 17:17). God Himself is truth (John 1:14, John 14:6) and everything He says is true. It is God’s truth that establishes what is true and what is false. Lies come from our adversary the devil. Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). So, if we want to know whether anything is true or false we much compare it to the standard of truth.
There’s an example of this in Acts. The apostle Paul took the Gospel to the Jews in Berea. When these Jews heard Paul’s message, it sounded like Good News to them. But, before they embraced it, they compared it to the Old Testament Scriptures (what they had at the time.) To whether or not what Paul said was true, they compared it to truth. When they did this, they discovered his message to be true. Many believed and were saved (Acts 17:10-12). (Want to be like a Berea? See “4 R Bible Study Method” and “4 Guidelines to Help You Understand the Bible” for Bible study help.)
Truth or Lie? Let’s See.
So, let’s go back to the feel-good message of the workout leader. Is it truth or fiction? What does the Bible say?
Are we worthy? Yes and no. First, because all people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we have value and worth. And God loves us (John 3:16). He died for us. But… apart from Christ, no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). No one deserves salvation because we’ve all fallen short of God’s ideal (Romans 3:23). But praise God, because of Christ’s sacrifice, we can be made right with God (Romans 6:23). (To find out more about a saving relationship with Jesus see “How To Know Jesus.”)
Can we find our highest self and deepest purpose through radical self-acceptance? No. God does have a “highest self” for us, but is has nothing to do with us. God’s primary desire for us is that we look more and more like Jesus through spiritual transformation (Romans 8:29). God does have a purpose for us, but it’s His purpose, not ours. He decided how He wanted to use our lives before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).
Yes, we have worth. Yes, we have a “better self.” Yes, we have a high purpose. But it’s not through ourselves. That’s just a lie dressed up to look good. It’s all in and through and about Jesus.
Let’s follow the Bereans’ example – take every message we hear and lay it beside God’s Word. Truth or lie. Fact or fiction. God’s truth or Satan’s lies.
What message have you heard recently that sounded good until you compared it with God’s truth?