In the United States, we've just been through a very contentious election cycle. There's been a lot of talk about fake news, which often stirs up a lot more heat than light. But there is truth to be found, and that truth can truly change you. And whether in the political arena or otherwise, truth can differentiate fake news or good news.
Recently we talked about the five catalysts for spiritual growth. Today and over the next few weeks, we're going to unpack those five catalysts a bit more.
What if there were a magic pill guaranteed to control your weight, give you massive energy, put you in a good mood, prevent disease and disability and extend your life many happy years? And to top it off, what if that pill cost little or no money? Would you take it?
In truth, such a pill exists. And it costs no more than a pair of running shoes. Regular physical exercise will do all of those things and more.
Then why don't more people experience the wonderful benefits of regular physical exercise? You intellectually know and believe most of those truths listed above, but unless they have become more than facts you've never experienced the reality of what exercise can do. You must embrace how those facts impact you, and put them into practice.
God's truth leading to your spiritual transformation is much the same. Without that truth, you're just dealing with fake news. Remember that Jesus said the one who both hears and does what He said will stand firm during the storms that will come. (Matt. 7:24-25).
How do you get God's truth from your head to your heart so you can differentiate fake news from the truly good news? First, here are three places to go for the truth.
1. God's Word
The Bible is, of course, the most solid foundation for good news. There's no human problem for which God's word does not have a solution. Sometimes that solution takes searching out. It may not fit with what we would "like" to hear. But remember, we're on a journey of becoming like Jesus: courageous and loving, calm and fierce, wise and humble, and much more. We cannot become like Jesus without truth to fuel us, correct us, shape us.
That means going to God's Word regularly. Make it a daily habit. Go to God's Word when you face trouble or questions or confusion. Make it a part of your life. Daily Bible reading plans, audio Bibles and various versions make it easier than ever to soak in God's Word.
2. Uplifting Media
Life-transforming truth can come from other uplifting media that's based on God's word as well. The body of Christ has a rich heritage of producing media—books, podcasts, TV programs, online resources, Bible studies and so on—that can help you apply God's truth to your life.
Such media should do more than simply entertain or sooth you; it should challenge you, stretch you, motivate you to follow Jesus even more closely and help you see how to do that. Pray that the Holy Spirit direct you to the godly resources you need most.
3. Other People
The people you hang around with make a difference. When it comes to life-changing truth, sometimes we need someone else to speak God's truth so we can hear it more clearly. A godly friend, member of your small group, pastor or Christian counselor can sometimes cut through the fake news playing in your head and speak God's truth to you in a way you can hear it.
Intentionally hang around people who can speak truth to you.
Making God's Word Good News
You can know a lot about the Bible and still not experience any lasting change. There are atheists who have spent their entire lives studying the Bible and never experience any life change. God's truth must make its way from your head to your heart in order for transformation to happen.
Here are three ways to make sure that happens.
1. Life and Death
When you go to God's Word or consume other uplifting media, don't look at it primarily as a list of do's and don'ts. God has a lot to say about what we should do and shouldn't do, but not because of some heavenly hierarchy of sins. It's because God knows what gives us life.
When He says "I hate divorce," it's because it hurts His children. When He says, "Sex is for marriage," it's because He knows that's what gives life to intimacy. Pornography, greed, selfishness and all the other things God's Word is against bring death to our lives, hearts and future. God's truth brings life. Focus on the life-and-death difference.
2. For Food vs. for Facts
Studying the Bible for facts is fine, but that is not very likely to change you. Some Bible studies can get so "busy" with facts that you miss the food. Studying the Bible for a class or to share with others is good, but it is not likely to truly change you.
Learn to go to the Bible for food, the emotional/spiritual nourishment that you can't live without. If you invite Him to do so, the Holy Spirit will take God's word and make it come alive in a way that feeds your soul like nothing else can. To paraphrase a popular slogan, "Stay hungry, my friend."
3. Learn to Feed Yourself
Somebody else embracing God's truth will not feed you. Just as with physical food, you're responsible to know when you're hungry for emotional/spiritual nourishment, finding it and choosing to take it into your being. Don't wait for anyone else to feed you.
Take responsibility to feed yourself. Be intentional about searching for God's truth when you need it, and applying it to your life. The Holy Spirit will not "zap" truth into your mind and heart; you've got to decide to take it in.
When faced with the fake news of our culture, our minds, our troubles, go for the Good News instead. God's truth truly is good news. Go after it.
Your Turn: How has God's truth changed you? If you haven't experienced the kind of change you need, how can you step up in embracing God's truth? Leave a comment below.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com.
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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