Society was regarded as a shipwreck from which each single individual man had to swim for his life….. These were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting the tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster. Thomas Merton – The Wisdom of the Desert
.….They perish because they refused to love the truth….(2 Thess 2:10)
Many years ago the pastor of a church in Tasmania encouraged me to begin a speaking and teaching ministry. His reasoning was that my counseling ministry took me into the nitty gritty of the lives of real people “working out their salvation” (Philip. 2:12). He believed that experience would focus my teaching on topics that might actually help people versus lofty messages that were out of touch with real needs. I took his advice which continues to be one of the streams of Shoulder To Shoulder Ministries. This blog comes out of those experiences.
I think we would have to have jaundiced eyes to be unaware of the drift of our culture and the impact it is having on younger believers. With the definition of words like “good” and “acceptable” being rewritten by forces that are neither, young people are having a difficult time gaining their footing. The current is not just causing them to drift into dangerous waters but is more like a rip tide, pulling them out to deep waters of confusion and pain. (Once again I find myself feeling the need to say I am an optimist – so keep readingJ). In a recent conversation I had with a young pastor he asked me if I thought the problem was the cultural influence or the tremendous availability of so many false and misleading opportunities for pure old sin. My answer was “yes”.
Perhaps the most sinister culprit is the subtle-yet-profound erosion of giving personal weight to the Truth. It seems that current cultural mindsets are often trumping the scriptures. I will not name what those are. I am not thinking so much of big inflammatory issues that are often debated, but personal choices that simply do not emanate from clear scriptural truth. Why is this?
I am sure the answer to my question is multifaceted. But being a simple man I look for simple answers. One is clear to me. There seems to be a disconnect between truth and Truth. In other words, there seems to be a separation concerning the written truth and the Author, whose title includes the word Truth. (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life).
Why would one not “love the truth”? I can only surmise that somehow the vision of who Jesus actually is has been distorted. He has been painted by a brush that does not convey who He really is, because when we know Him as:
Lover of our soul – we will love and trust His love-motivated truth for us.
Creator and Author of life– we will love and trust that He really does know what is best for our lives.
Life Giver – We will love and trust that anything apart from Him is NOT life at all.
Rescuer – We will love and trust that His path leads us to freedom, not bondage.
The exact representation of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3) – We will love and trust that the heart that Jesus revealed – the heart that loves like crazy, forgives the unforgivable, heals the broken and damaged and says that we were worth dying for – and then did it, is indeed the very heart of God!
In Revelation 2:4 we hear Jesus speaking to the Church of losing their “first love”. I take this to mean that Jesus is helping the church to see that they are out of touch with His love- the First Love. They have drifted from drawing life, purpose and passion from their love relationship with Him and as one author said, they have turned to “less wild lovers”.
Our job? We must ask the Lord to gives us that creative mystical union of “kindness and truth” that Jesus carried while He walked on the earth. Prov 3:3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. Somehow His kindness and compassion opened the heart of people to receive life-changing uncompromising Truth. We must trust Him to do no less through us His followers.
When drift occurs we need an Anchor. The anchor cannot be good ideas, church services or culturally relevant programs, as valuable as these are. The Anchor is the Lord Himself, who speaks life-giving, soul-healing, relationship transforming truth and whose love for each of us is too good to be true – but it is!
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever…… Hebrews 6:19-20