Remember my love of sweet tea? It hasn’t changed…not totally. I’ve just made some adjustments.
Lately I have been ordering a “half and half” sweet tea or “sweet tea split” because truthfully I just don’t like the full on sweetness the way I used. Instant diabetes? No thanks. Sugary aftertaste? I’ll pass. So I mix my sweet tea with unsweet tea and it’s just right. I mean it looks the same to outsider. Only I know that it’s not full strength.
See? You can’t tell which is which.
Sometimes we can be tempted do that with truth. Have you ever been misled by half truth?We are bombarded with “inspiration” at every turn but often what is disguised as motivation or spiritual guidance is really just diluted truth. There is so much “half and half” truth out there, as believers we must be discerning. The danger is, much like my diluted sweet tea, half and half truth can look like full strength truth on the outside but the taster knows is diluted.
Here are a few quotes I’ve recently come across from some well-known inspirational leaders…
- Breathing deeply and releasing fear will help you get to where you want to be.
- Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself.
- We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem.
- It is not what you hear, it is where you listen from within yourself that gives meaning to the message.
- Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted.
- Every person is a God in embryo. Its only desire is to be born.
Hmmm…let’s think about those.
Exhaling fear? TRUTH – Only perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18,)
Everything is a reflection of me? TRUTH – I control my responses but God is sovereign (Job 12:10)
Listen within myself? TRUTH – The heart is deceitful and not a good decision maker without the help of the Holy Spirit (Jer. 17:9, John 14:16-17)
Paul chastised the Galatians about this exact issue. In chapter 1, verse 6, he declares he’s “astonished” at how quickly they deserted the true gospel for a false one. What’s really interesting is that the word “deserted” actually means to transpose. You know when you’re trying to write “101” but you write “110” instead? Or when you’re trying to type “the” but you type “teh” instead? That’s transposing.
It’s the subtle alteration of a thing that might go unnoticed at a glance. The slight change in truth that may not be immediately evident.
We spend so much energy focused on avoiding the conspicuous things that are clearly lies, we unintentionally invite the covert lies in. They dilute our truth and alter our course.
In chapter 3, he tells them they have been “bewitched”. They had been lulled into lies because the lies – legalism and racism(separation of Jews and Gentiles) – were close enough to the truth to draw them in.
And by the way, the one leading them down the wrong path in all of this? That would be Peter. Paul called him Cephas in this particular letter. Cephas means “rock” and Jesus gave Peter that name in John 1:42. Yes, Peter, the one who had walked with God, was teaching the believers in the churches of Galatia another gospel.
Sometimes the very people you expect to provide clear direction offer diluted truth instead. If you aren’t discerning, you’ll give too much credit to the messenger and not measure the message against God’s word.
Peter was clearly a follower of Christ but his own insecurities and desire for acceptance led him to alter God’s truth. Even trusted spiritual leaders make missteps. Humanity can get the best of us. And if trusted leaders, who’s lives consistently align to Christ, make missteps, what do you expect from those people who don’t even confess Christ? Many inspirational leaders belive in vague and ambiguous gods but do not confess Christ and Christ ALONE. This is why it’s up to every believer to discern truth for his/herself. It’s possible. You already have what you need.
Do you want to be able to discern diluted truth? Do you want to know what God says about what you’re reading, the people you’re listening to, and the advice you’re following?
READ the Word
Scripture tells us what we are to do with God’s word. Trust it (2 Tim 3:16)
Feast on it (Matt 4:4)
Meditate on it (Ps. 1:2-3)
Store it in our hearts (Ps. 119:11)
Consult it (Heb. 4:12), and
Be equipped by it (2 Tim.3:17)
RUN the test – 1 John 4:1-3
Examine, prove, assess all the information or inspiration you hear. Every sermon, quote, song, speech, book, conversation, etc. needs to be tested. In doing so, we invite the Holy Spirit to do we he does best. Discern truth and give us direction.
Be READY to RESPOND – Gal 2:11-16, 2 Tim. 4:1-4
Paul confronted Peter (Cephas) about the falsehoods he was spreading. Timothy chapter 4 reminds that word must be boldly used to distingush sound doctrine from seasonal doctrine.
Ask the Lord today for the wisdom to discern full-strength truth from diluted truth and the courage to act on that discernment.