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True for You, Not for Me

Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Before Jesus was crucified, Pilate asked the question of our culture, "What is truth?" (John 18:38).

We live in a culture that desperately needs to rediscover truth! We need to know what is true, why it’s true, and what difference truth makes to our lives. You may have heard the phrase, ‘True for you, not for me.’ Your truth may not be somebody else’s truth. But, how do you determine whether or not something is true?

Josh McDowell tells about a conversation with Amber, a sixteen-year-old girl – a Christian from a solid family and youth group. “Is it wrong to engage in premarital sex?” “Well, I believe it’s wrong for me.” “But do you believe that the Bible teaches that premarital sex is wrong for everyone?” Amber’s eyes shifted back and forth as she weighed her answer. “Well, I know it’s wrong for me, and I have chosen not to have sex until I’m married. But I don’t think I can judge other people on what they do.” McDowell’s conclusion? Amber has been conditioned to believe that truth is not true for others unless they choose to believe it. That’s why over 80% of our kids claim that “all truth is relative to the individual and his/her circumstances.”

Folks, whether you struggle with this issue or not, with over 80% of the next generation claiming that all truth is relative, we need to figure out what we can do to change our current direction. I don’t pretend that a blog posting will cause an entire culture to change course, but maybe it will be a starting point for some people--maybe even for you!

Two important questions:

  1. Why is this such a big deal? The big deal is that beliefs shape values and values drive actions. In other words, your beliefs will eventually become your behavior.
  2. Why do people reject biblical truth? Here’s the number one reason. People reject the Bible and its truths because Christians’ actions don’t match their words. Put another way, who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.

When we turn to the Bible, we read about one part of this problem in a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Colossae known as the Book of Colossians. There is something that Bible scholars often refer to as “The Colossian Heresy,” which was a belief system that combined the Bible with pagan philosophy. And that’s where we are today. People mix and match based on what they perceive to be true. The result? Truth is relative. The system that Paul was countering combined Judaism and paganism, but it wore the mask of Christianity. It didn’t deny Christ, but it dethroned Him; it gave Christ a place, but not the supreme place. It’s the same thing today. Roughly 94% of all Americans claim to believe in God, but it doesn’t make any real difference in how we live our lives.

The point of the book of Colossians is to teach people that Christ is supreme, and we can trust in the sole sufficiency of His saving work. This is truth. We are complete in Christ. Right now, you may need to be encouraged by that truth in your own life--you are complete in Christ!!

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Competitor or Companion?

“When we only share our successes, we’re in danger of becoming competitors; when we share our struggles, we’re on the path to becoming true brothers and friends.”

I heard these words in a sermon preached by my mentor, Alan Ahlgrim, this past Sunday.  How true they are.  Do you find yourself surrounded by competitors or companions?  Do your conversations tend to center around how smart your kids are, how your daughter is excelling in gymnastics, how your son is so gifted in math, how your spouse is taking you on a vacation to Europe? 

 When you dig deep into your soul, are you sharing these successes, because you feel something lacking, and you believe you have something to prove? 

 Been there, done that.  Sometimes I still do.

 More times than not, when I’m at a pastors’ conference, the conversations quickly turn to “nickels and noses.”  How many people attend your church and how big is the budget?  As though these metrics define our self-worth.  And then we pastors wonder why our churches compete with one another rather than compliment one another. 

 We have much to learn.

 Henri Nouwen expressed his own feelings of self-doubt when he compared himself to others.  He wrote, “What do you do when you can’t get away from measuring yourself against others, always feeling that they are the real people while you are a nobody or even less than that?” (The Genesee Diary, 91).

 Feelings of insecurity and inferiority lead to self-loathing, which is just as harmful to the soul as self-lauding.  Whether these feelings stem from parental rejection in childhood, growing up as the “ugly duckling,” being wounded by a close friend or spouse, or having a teacher or coach tell you that you’re never going to amount to anything, we tend to absorb this toxicity.  It begins to define us emotionally, even though intellectually we may know better. 

 Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was living in denial. 

 To overcome our insecurities, we “man up” with bravado, whether it’s a mom making sure everyone knows how great her kids are, a business leader who wants his successes to shine, or a pastor who wants people to affirm his amazing leadership and communication ability. 

 And we still feel empty inside.  We find ourselves surrounded by “friends” who are competitors more than companions, and our soul is left wanting. 

 What’s the answer?  Like most deep challenges in life, there are no easy answers, but there are answers, starting with seeing ourselves the way God does, as His sons and daughters (Romans 8:14).

 And we don’t go it alone.  We share our struggles as companions and not our successes as competitors.  This doesn’t mean we don’t share our joys and accomplishments, but we do so because we are companions, and not because we’re trying to prove our self-worth as competitors.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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