In the previous post, we began our study with an overview leading up to Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate (think/dwell) on these things.”
Paul is giving us the boundaries of what our mind is suppose to be focused upon (not to spoil this or future articles, but the boundary and focus is Jesus). Jesus is suppose to be the consumption of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30). We are to have His mind and be focused on the very things He is focused upon (1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5).
… is true
The first “whatever” Paul mentions is that we are to think, focus, meditate, and dwell upon that which is true.
Truth is far bigger than mere facts and information. The truth we are to be focused on is … I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now: Jesus! We don’t embrace facts, we embrace a Person who is Truth.
In John 14, Jesus was with His disciples in the upper room when Thomas asked Him to explain what He was doing and where He was going. They just couldn’t seem to understand. Jesus made the declaration we all have memorized: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (verse 6).
Jesus didn’t say He was a way and a truth but THE way and THE truth. It is an important distinction to make.
I’ve said this before but if Jesus is the life, then anything that is not Jesus is death. If Jesus is the way, then anything outside of Jesus will lead you to a dead end … nowhere. If Jesus is the truth, then anything outside of Him is a lie. Something may be factually correct but Truth itself is a Person whose name is Jesus.
We are not into knowledge for knowledge’s sake; knowledge is to lead us to a Person. We don’t embrace facts; they’re not necessarily bad or wrong, but we are to embrace a Person. Christianity is not about mental accent, for there are wise scholars who know a lot about Jesus but don’t have any relationship with Him. In the end, these heady individuals will be lost. Jesus said “this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). “Know” in this passage is one of my favorite Greek words (ginosko)—knowledge which is experienced through relationship; not facts, data, and information.
Have you embraced Truth (a Person)?
Truth Expels Lies
Embracing Jesus (Truth) gives you tremendous clarity, victory, and freedom. Satan’s primary weapon against us is deception—he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). Everyday countless lies and temptations bombard us. How will we ever be able to stand? How will we be victorious? Truth.
Lies cannot have a foothold in truth; it’s either one or the other. By embracing Truth, you have one of the greatest deterrents for believing a lie.
But here’s the key. When a lie presents itself, you must not fight it on its level but rather battle it with Truth. I can argue against deception, I can tell myself not to listen, I can crank up my music real loud in hopes of drowning out the message, but it is all pointless. The way to strip the power and hold of a lie is to confront it with Truth. Truth disarms deception.
Paul commands believers in Ephesians 6:13 to take up the armor of God. It is interesting that the piece he talks about first is the same piece which holds the other articles of body armor together: the belt of truth. Truth is to be girded (secured) about our waist.
What would happen if we became so acquainted with Truth (Jesus) that any time something presented itself to our lives, we would immediately know if it was a lie or not?
The $100 Bill
Bank tellers are taught how to spot counterfeit money. People often try to scam their way into cash, so it’s important for bank tellers to know how to spot the real stuff from the phony.
So they take a class.
They enter the room and see written on the whiteboard “Counterfeit Money 101.” They spend hours looking at all the different counterfeits and how they are made. They know all the tricks and are ready to return to their positions looking for any fraudulent activity.
Obviously that is not true. Do know how pointless that class would be? There will always be new ways to produce counterfeit money. Knowing a bunch of methods for forging money doesn’t help you spot the problems. What they need is to become thoroughly acquainted with real money. They need to spend hours looking at real $100 bills so they know what the real ones are made of. That way, whenever a bill comes through their teller window that doesn’t have the look, feel, and smell of the genuine, they automatically know its a fake.
That’s an old illustration, but a good one; and the same thing applies with truth.
You don’t need to waste your time examining the lies of the enemy or learning his deep dark tactics to ensnare you. Sure, it might help for a few occasions, but what you need is to become intimately acquainted with the Truth (Jesus). Only then when something comes into your life that doesn’t look, feel, and smell of the Truth, you will automatically know its a lie.
Paul says to keep your mind focused on the Truth. Do you know the voice of Truth? Have you embraced the Person who is Truth? Are you continually getting to know Truth at a deeper and more intimate level? When a lie from the enemy presents itself to your mind, do you immediately see it for what it is and combat it with Truth … or do you allow the lie to squirm its way into your mind and produce doubt, confusion, and lead you into sin?
May each of us allow the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who lives within us, to increasingly lead and guide us into all truth (John 16.13); expelling every ounce of lie and deception that may have taken a foothold within us. I exhort you: go after Truth! … His name is Jesus.
Check out the other articles in this series: