Do You Believe Jesus?

What do you make of the following statements?
Do you believe them?
If so, what PRACTICAL effect does that belief have in your life?

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matt 21:22) NIV

I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24) NIV

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7) NIV

whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16)NIV

Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:23-24) NIV

 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5: 14-15) NIV

Are these promises we can actually believe?
Do we believe those promises to the extent that our lived experience is determined by them?

Or do we find ourselves having to “reinterpret” their meaning to make them fit our lived experience?

Does our faith in Jesus include believing what He said?
Does our faith in Jesus include believing in the wider scriptures , written by His disciples?

Is our faith in Jesus and God’s word or is it more focused on tradition and our personal experience?

In particular, what do we make of this?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14: 12-14) NIV

If Jesus said “whoever believes in [Him] will do…”, how is that being reflected in OUR lives as professing believers?

Are we experiencing those works and greater things in our lives?
Are we expecting those works and greater things to be part of our lives?

If not why not?

“Whatever works for you…”

When sharing our faith in Jesus, Gloria and I find so many people saying they are glad we have a faith that works for us.
They may even express a degree of regret that they themselves have no such faith sustaining them, but rarely is that regret sufficient to move them to consider their own need to seek God.

“Whatever works for you” is a common response.

They see that for us Jesus “works”, but for others it may be Buddha, or Allah, or the millions of Hindu gods – it doesn’t matter as long as it works for them.
Clearly, they give no consideration for the value of TRUTH.
Truth has lost its – well, its TRUTH.

Relativism rules, where it is possible for everyone to hold to their own particular “truths” no matter how contradictory they all may be; just as long as no one tries to insist that “their truth” is THE truth.

God isn’t so flexible in His views.

He values truth enough to identify Himself with it.
Jesus said “I am the way, THE TRUTH and the life” – the ONLY means of accessing the Father.

Paul wrote of the importance of truth, that receiving a love of the truth is essential for salvation and writes about

“those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

Truth matters. It is worthless believing in something that isn’t true, no matter how much “comfort” it may seem to give.

“Veritaphilia”

In my previous post I said that truth and reality relate to what actually IS.

While thinking about that I recall God’s revelation of Himself to Moses, where God identified Himself as “I Am That I Am“.

A  name reflecting the present tense of the verb “to be”.
A name proclaiming existence, actuality, the truth, what IS.

I coined the term “veritaphobia” -and defined it as “the fear and rejection of truth”.
In this post I refer to “veritaphilia” and define it as loving the truth.  Paul made it clear that a love of truth is a vital requirement of knowing God.

In his second letter to the Thessalonian church he writes of the importance of truth, and in particular our attitude to it. He told them that people will perish if they refuse to love the truth, disqualifying themselves from salvation.

Why is love of truth so important?

Jesus identified Himself with the Truth, saying:

 ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus the Truth, is the only way to gain access God, His Father, the Father of truth.

Rejection of truth is a rejection of God, denying ourselves any chance of knowing Him, ensuring we “will believe the lie“.

Those who reject the Truth, are described in this statement from Jesus:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The only truth is God’s Truth.

We can not create our own – our attempts to do so will inevitably follow the pattern established by the father of lies, the original rebel against God, and those taking that path are destined to share his fate.

Know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

truth

“Veritaphobia”

Last week I saw a news story about a 69 year old man in the Netherlands who had taken a case to court to have his age legally recognised as being 49, claiming he identified more with the younger age. (Also having to list himself as 69 was a hindrance on Tinder).

I saw this story as yet another example of the madness going on in the world today – where “truth” is being redefined to suit the feelings of individuals; where objective reality is pushed aside and replaced by what we choose to “identify” as truth.

The story was a logical progression from the current gender fad – where birth gender no longer determines whether someone is male or female. The increasingly accepted philosophy demands that people be accepted as the gender with which they identify (at a particular time).

I have since seen another reference to the 69 year old’s story.
Now he is being accused of “transphobic” intentions, that he’s making a mockery of those who choose to identify with a gender contrary to the biological reality of their bodies.

Now, of course I can’t say what his motive may be – but I have to ask, why should a case like his (related to age) be judged any differently to a case of someone who wants to change the identity of their own gender?

How can his accuser label him as  “transphobic” without that accuser being guilty of being something I’ll call geriatriphobic?

If gender can be adopted according to preference rather than biological evidence, why can’t age be adopted in the same way?

Or race?

Remember white born Rachel Dolezal who identified as black and lived as a black woman but was later demonised when her actual biological identity was exposed? Why was her right to identify as she saw fit rejected, in contrast to the rights of those who choose which gender they prefer to be?

I see the three examples given above are highlighting a crucial issue – the world’s changing attitude to truth, reality, and what actually IS.

They see truth as something malleable, to be shaped by personal choice. They make the individual the arbiter of what is “true” or “real”. Everyone is free to determine their own truth…

But not always – as shown in the “transphobia” accusation against the 69 year old, and the hostility against Rachel Dolezal. It seems a person’s entitlement to define their own identity reality isn’t being recognised across the board. But why? If we are free to create our own truth, what gives anyone the right to stop that freedom from being extended to everyone else, according to their own particular identity desires?

I suggest that REAL issue behind all of this is not “transphobia” or my new word “geriatriphobia”, it is  Veritaphobia.
The fear and rejection of truth.

People don’t like a truth that defines their identity and behaviour if that truth isn’t flexible enough to bow to their own desires.  They don’t like the idea of an objective, fixed truth based on facts – or a reality separate from personal desire or choice.

In Hebrew and Greek (the biblical languages), the same words are apparently used to describe both truth and reality.

What is true is real.

Truth is  ACTUALITY – what IS and not what someone might want or prefer.

There is a very significant reason why attempts would be made to redefine truth/reality to suit personal desire. If truth can be changed to suit the individual, then there is no longer any accountability to anything, anyone, or any truth, outside of that indvidual. We can make our own rules and give ourselves legitimacy for any path we choose to make for ourselves.