The Truth That Sets Us Free
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
“Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” - 2 Timothy 3:14
I walked through one of my favorite clothing stores and saw a hutch filled to the brim with beautiful books. Books I’ve celebrated as they hit the shelves and would be sure to get into the hands of all the women I know, and others books I found to be earth-shatteringly off about who God is.
I felt my heart rate pick up and yes, I did what some of you are thinking; I moved that second group of books to the back of the hutch. I prayed God would keep them hidden in the back of those beautifully crafted shelves. You see, the words on those pages are being used to mislead and confuse people about who God is. We have to be on guard, we must stand alert, we must ask for God’s discernment and avoid trusting the words man has written over the Word of God.
Unfortunately, God’s sacred Word is being used by people who claim to be “steadfast, faith-filled Christians” to confuse and manipulate the truth. Truth that doesn’t set free. I can’t imagine how devastating and grief-filling it is for the Lord to watch this happen. The amount of sadness He must feel as He watches His daughters and sons in Christ fall to these teachings.
We’re finding ourselves at a place in history where it’s easier to accept someone else’s word about who God is and what His Word says, rather than studying the Bible directly ourselves. We’ve begun to allow the size of a platform to cloud our judgment as to whether or not truth is being spoken.
The False Gospel of “Feel Good” Faith
Many of these teachings create false feelings in the people who follow them. As a friend of mine put it, their words “create a feel-good faith.” The gospel message gets manipulated and twisted by people who want to make others believe our faith is more about serving ourselves over serving God.
People flock to what feels good, which makes sense because we’re fallen, broken, and mostly hungry for more. But God calls us to much more than a feel-good faith, God calls us to take up our cross and bear witness to the world. “Bearing” our witness isn’t something comfortable or easy. It isn’t based on what God can do for us. It is based on what God did for us despite all we would do against Him.
It feels like we’re walking on a very thin line. We live in a world of abundance. We have more resources now than ever before. There are more people being published than ever before, so this means we have to sift with eternal eyes. More writers doesn’t mean more truth. Unfortunately, it can lead to quite the opposite. More information means we need to be more dependent on asking God for guidance and discernment to lead us. We have to ask, Who does He want me under the teaching of? Not only in our churches, but in our homes with the books we pick up, in our cars with the podcasts we’ve downloaded, in our inboxes that are filled with the most recent blog posts or devotions.
Just because something happens to be marked “Christian,” doesn’t mean it is truth. God’s Word shows us the harsh reality of following a faith that is built upon the words of others and not built on the word of God. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:12-13 things will continue to get worse as time goes on. Evil people and false teachers will continue to deceive and be deceived themselves. He continues on in verse 14 reminding us to “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” When we’re trying to quench our spiritual thirst and know God more, we can’t turn to the feel-good messages, prosperity teachers, and self-help books. We need to turn to the Bible – truth in its purest form.
My heart keeps pondering on the lyrics, “love came down and rescued me, love came down and set me free, I am yours, I am forever yours” by Kari Jobe. This is what we trust in. Jesus came down and rescued me, Jesus came down and set me free. No one else but Him. This perfect man came down so that you and I could be reconciled to Him.
There is no truth greater that we’ll find in any book or any other person. In a world full of heartbreak and distortion this is why we must turn to Jesus and God’s Word most of all, it never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). As sisters in Christ, we’re each other’s cheerleader. We must be pointing each other God-ward. We must be the light in this world that wants to cause confusion. We must ourselves be opening God’s Word and learning it on deeper levels. If you’re still breathing, God wants you to know something more about Him. We must be willing to be on the front lines for the Kingdom of God pointing people to the Word that challenges, changes, and shapes people into who He wants them to be.
“Know the truth, the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
Originally published Tuesday, 24 May 2022.