Friday, June 21, 2013
Lies We Believe: Because We Don’t Know Better
My sister told me later with a laugh, “I don’t know what came over me, but before I even thought about what I was saying, I told Amy they were frog freckles.”
“Frog freckles? How do they get them off the frogs, Mom?” Being a tender, compassionate child, Amy was immediately concerned for their welfare. “They don’t kill them do they?”
“Oh no, “Kathy answered breezily, thinking on her feet. “They just round them up once a week and flick the off the freckles like this,” she said, flicking her thumb and middle finger. Then they release the frogs so they can grow new ones.” At that she spooned the mixture into muffin cups and popped them in the oven.
“Oh,” Amy answered, deep in thought. As Kathy rinsed the dishes and wiped the counters, they discussed how the factory workers swept the freckles into vats of water to wash them thoroughly before packaging them in bottles. “And then,” Kathy picked up the bottle of poppy seeds with a flourish, “we buy them at the store so I can make yummy muffins for our family.”
I’m not sure how long it was before Amy found out her mom was just pulling her leg, but for a while she believed that her favorite treat was Frog Freckle Muffins. It’s one of our favorite family stories. She believed the lie because she didn’t know any better.
However, ignorance of spiritual truths is dangerous, especially when we’ve been Christians long enough to know better. Amy discovered the truth about poppy seeds because she was hungry for knowledge, constantly asking questions about everything, and daily growing in maturity. That is what we should be doing in our spiritual lives as well. Yet, too often, people get comfortable as baby Christians and stop yearning to know more about God. They leave Bible knowledge to pastors and theologians and are content to get a few drops of milk in their bottle or sippy cup when they go to church.
The unidentified author of Hebrews blasts believers in his letter for this same thing: “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:12-14, emphasis added).
How can we know if someone’s telling us a lie unless we’re reading the Bible for ourselves and maturing in our knowledge and faith? Doctor Luke praised the Jews in Berea for educating themselves before gulping down every new thing they heard about God: “The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men” (Acts 17:11-12). They did believe that what Paul was preaching was true, but not before checking their facts.
How about you? If you’ve been a believer for more than a year, are you making good headway through the book of truth you claim you base your life on? Or are you relying on sermons, devotionals, or TV preachers to tell you what it says? Perhaps you believe the Bible on your coffee or bedside table is fueling your mind by osmosis. However, if that’s not happening, how will you know what to believe? You can be sure the enemy is making his lies readily available without any effort on your part.
They say the best way to recognize counterfeit money is not by studying it, but by handling the real thing so often that the feel, smell, and look of it becomes second nature. (That’s a theory I’d like to test.) So rather than focusing on the lies foisted on us, we must zero in on a daily diet of God’s Word.
I hope that if you’ve been lax in this spiritual discipline that you don’t give up. Today is the day to start. Don’t worry about gulping down huge passages each day just to check it off your list. It’s better to read a little, stopping occasionally to digest, meditate, ask for understanding or forgiveness, or simply to revel in God’s love. He wrote this amazing book for you! And if you find it difficult to understand, ask Him for help. What author wouldn’t be thrilled to discuss His work with a reader? Especially when the reader’s life and well-being depend on knowing the truth it contains.