4 Lessons Paul Can Teach Believers About Perception of the Truth

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As I've often said, "Perception is not necessarily the truth, but it is the truth to the one who perceives it." If we are not careful and discerning, we can filter our worldview through our personal preferences or experiences, rather than through the Word, character, nature and Spirit of God.

Whereby, we create our own world and personal kingdoms based on our own perceptions.

The writings of the apostle Paul to Timothy ring true with such prophetic clarity even for us today. In fact, I'd say more so than when he first penned them.

"Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:1-4).

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"For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Paul was deeply concerned that even amongst those who professed to know the truth, many no longer had a love for the truth. In 2 Timothy 4:5, he encourages us to make sure we are not disheartened or discouraged from keeping our focus.

  1. Be watchful in all things. In other words, be morally alert, be sober and have self control.
  1. Endure afflictions. We must persevere through whatever challenges or hardships may come our way. We need to keep our vision of hope and our eyes on the destination of the Lord. Circumstances should not dictate who we are because we know who we are in Christ.
  1. Do the work of an evangelist. We must have the heart of our Savior for the souls of men. We may not all have the office of an evangelist or be called like a Billy Graham, but we are all called to do the work of an evangelist. We are all called to let the Lord's light shine in our lives in such a way that it directs others to Him. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

I love this quote from the late Leonard Ravenhill, "Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle and let men burn and give no hand? Could you sit at ease in Zion (as a Christian) with the world around you damned?"

There is such need in the world around us today. Shall we sit back on the beach of ease and comfort, when so many are still shipwrecked in a sea of despair and destruction?

A.W. Tozer said, "The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain."

We need to wake up from our slumber, quit pushing our snooze buttons, and awaken to the call to be good messengers in a world of bad news.

  1. Fulfill your ministry. The Amplified Bible says it this way: "fully perform all the duties of your ministry." We are all called to steward the ministry God has entrusted to us. We have been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus, and now all of us have the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 is a reminder not to lose heart lest we have a tendency to mishandle the Word of God through deceitfulness. We should rather manifest the truth to others.

We can only manifest the truth if we ourselves have the love of truth. Too often we turn our ears away from the truth because we raise up our own "golden calf," so to speak. We set up our personal preferences based on our own perceptions, thus disregarding the truth where our sacred cows are concerned.

Do we have a love for truth, or are we being given over to a strong delusion?

It seems apostasy is arising, false teachers (teaching) increasing, and the name and truth of God is being attacked. (See 2 Thess. 2.)

Let us not be mistaken about the blatant attack today. At issue is also:

— Sacredness of marriage and family.

— Sacredness of life.

— God Himself.

Remember these things that greatly bring the displeasure of the Lord upon a nation and culture:

— Temple Prostitution or the selling of the soul of the church.

— Shedding of innocent blood, including the sacrifice our children on the altar of ease and comfort, justifying by excuse our preferences. This can be likened to offering our children on the altar of Moloch. Moloch or Molech is the biblical name of a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. (Isaiah 1 also mentions shedding of innocent blood.)

— Acceptance of societal shifts toward licentiousness and moral looseness, thus opening a Pandora's box and increase of human depravity and anarchy.

— Injustice, including not looking out for the orphans and widows, from our children to our seniors.

May our eyes be opened with discernment and our hearts return to Him.

Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network bringing hope and healing to communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and cooperative efforts. He is the author of numerous books, including In Search of a Father's Blessing and Leadership Awakening: Foundational Principles for Lasting Success.

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