“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. “ (John 8:32, NLT)
How do you determine a truth from a lie? What is your litmus test for determining the truthfulness of thoughts that enter your brain?
Let’s step back a moment and travel to the food court inside our local mall. It was my husband’s day off and we were famished and ready for lunch. Ron took our daughter to place the order while my son and I located a table in the unusually busy food court. We found a table, borrowed a few chairs from other lone patrons and happily people watched as we waited for our food to arrive.
Off to my left was a Tropical Café Smoothie. (We have tried that as lunch before, but convincing the children a smoothie was indeed a meal did not venture well for our family.) As I scanned the line of waiting customers, my eyes fell to a beautiful, tall, slender blonde. She was dressed in a black tank and dress jacket, with trendy jeans. She had long hair and perfect makeup, instantly allowing me to dub her Makeup Girl. She certainly had the look of a makeup counter saleswoman. You know, the beautifully intimidating type who we “normal” women may shirk at asking for assistance in case we appear less than knowledgeable about powder, eye-shadow, and lip-glosses.
Within seconds I had sized this woman up and measured myself as second-rate compared to Makeup Girl. In a glance, a jealous seed was fertilized and dangerous lies were entertained: Beauty is skin deep. Size and shape equal self-worth. All this before my fish sandwich and fries arrived!
So, let me ask again: how do you determine a truth from a lie? What is your litmus test for determining whether your thoughts are true?
If you are a Christian, then like me, you believe the Bible is our source of truth as directly and divinely penned at the guiding of the Holy Spirit through chosen men. That being our baseline, were my first reactions to Makeup Girl true?
No. My initial thoughts were not true in this case. Instead, I believed the lie of the world and the prince of the world (John 12:31) that in order to be beautiful I must be pencil thin, perfectly attired, and youthful…a few curves in the right places certainly thrown in.
Where in the Bible is this depiction of self-worth and beauty?
In Philippians 4:8, Paul instructs us to “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.”( NLT)
To know the truth about ourselves and the created world around us, we must follow the declarations of the young man in Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Jesus prays to God the Father in John 17:7, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” (NLT) God’s Word, the Bible, is Truth, and we should hide it in our hearts and have it on the forefronts of our minds so that we can determine truth from a lie when fired from within (our own thoughts) or from without (the world).
Thankfully, in the food court the Holy Spirit reminded me of His words to Samuel as he went to anoint the second king of Israel, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)
That moment in the food court, my heart was putrid shades of jealousy, envy, and ungratefulness. Ungratefulness for my own healthy body that exercises three or more times a week and takes care of my family. Ungrateful for the smile God has blessed me with and all the other attributes he chose for me as He intricately wove me together in my mother’s womb.
So I bowed my heart to the One who took on flesh and bore my punishment and confessed my sins in search of forgiveness. My God forgave me just as His Word says, “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT)
Consider for a moment how my reaction would have differed, or diverted from repentance, had I not stored the Word of God in my heart. If I said, “I believe the Bible,” but studied the world instead of God’s Word.
We will not know the Truth and recognize lies of our own emotions or the world’s teaching if we make a life study of the world and not God’s Word.
We don’t have to read supermarket tabloids to know the world teaches that success in this life means being young, slender, fit, firm, free from wrinkles and fashionable. To achieve these descriptions is to be applauded, admired and desired.
God’s word, however, tells us emphatically NOT TRUE! Let us purpose, women, to show ourselves approved rightly, dividing the word of truth and extinguishing the flaming darts of the enemy. Let us purpose, men, to praise both inner and outer beauty in the women in our life which reflect the blessings and heart of God. Let us redeem our mind by the power of His word and believe the truth about our worth.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)