For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Romans 1:21, 25
A couple of posts ago I mentioned Jeff Vanderstelt’s videos on Gospel Fluency. In his third video he talks about the more fluent we get as believers in speaking the gospel to one another and to ourselves, the more it overflows to others and into more areas of our lives. It’s about taking our thoughts captive and applying the truths of the gospel to every area of our lives.
When we worship the wrong thing in our own life, we’re just like unbelievers. We exchange truth for a lie and we pay the price. We are all idolators in certain areas. We worship the wrong things until somehow, some way it gets revealed and then we get it straightened out and repent of it. Then we bring it to Jesus to show us a different way to deal with it.
For example, let’s say someone starts grumbling about their boss. That’s the example that Jeff used in his teaching. If we jump on the bandwagon and talk about a time our boss was a jerk too, we’re reflecting the same wrong belief–that our hope is in the wrong person to find our fulfillment and accolades.
So instead of agreeing and saying, “That’s right, your boss sounds like an ego maniac,” you could instead say graciously, “You know, she’s not meant to be your all in all, God is.” Supposing this person is a Christian, we can go on to point to how in Colossians 3 we’re told to work for the Lord and not for man and what that looks like. If they’re not a Christian, perhaps you could say something about how since you’ve become a Christian, God has shifted your perspective to what really matters and where you get your affirmation from.
His next example really hit home. It was about taking a look at a time (or times) when we revert to a false view of God, believing that He has done things that aren’t really true, then believing things about ourselves that aren’t really true and acting out of those false beliefs. For example we may get anxious in certain situations because we believe we have to be in control. This might be driven by a false belief that God has lost control and abandoned us, or that He is absent, impotent or unloving.
Turning this around involves giving myself the Gospel, if I’m the one that holds to this false belief, or to another person that is struggling with anxiety, control issues, or other related problems. Part of this has to do with looking at Scriptures that show that God is loving, powerful, present, etc. Another part would be pointing at times in my own life or in the other person’s life when God has shown Himself to be loving, trustworthy, present and powerful.
You would think that once we hear and experience these truths once that we would get it. But no, we need to hear the truths of the Gospel over and over in all different ways spoken into those areas where we doubt and fear and relapse. And we need to speak them to each other. I need to repent in my heart from the false truths that have caused me to be an idolater, exchanging the truth of God for a lie. I need to exchange the lies for truth, claim the truths of Scripture and write my name on them like on the bottom of a check. And I need to graciously help others do the same.
It’s funny. I think I have it all figured out. And then I get around people who drive me nuts and I start muttering and becoming less kind and gracious than someone who knows Jesus should be. Or when other weaknesses come popping up like prairie dogs, then it’s time to go back to what lies I’m believing about myself or about God and start over again. Or if I sit and listen to someone whose weaknesses poke out quickly as well, then I can help them sort through the same process.
Let us not become futile in our thinking and let our foolish hearts be darkened, exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Instead, let us exchange those devious lies for the truth of God and be changed by them. Let us speak the good news of Jesus to ourselves and to others so that He sinks deep down into the crevices of our hearts and lives.
*Image by Amy Pape