When our children were very young, God moved us to a new city and placed us in a church body where He provided a weekly diet of truth. From the pulpit and from the women’s Bible studies, He provided truth to banish the darkness of falsehood.
But each Tuesday, an inner battle had to be fought in order to actually make it to the women’s Bible study. New to the city and the babysitters and the routine, my children experienced separation anxiety. On our drive to the study, fearful and anxious crying sounded from the car seats behind me, and my own fear and anxiety would escalate. Their cries pulled at my heart, and the drive became a task I dreaded.
I’d arrive in the church parking lot fighting tears myself, ready to turn around and drive back home.
The babysitters assured me that my three actually enjoyed themselves once I walked away. The seasoned moms assured me that it was a healthy sign my children loved me so much. That was kind of all of them. But, I felt like the mom with the big letter F pinned to my shirt — F was for failure.
One Tuesday morning, standing in the parking lot, trying to decide if the hours of fellowship and Bible study were even worth the effort, a new thought came to me. The thought was this: If I was physically sick, I would not go get a haircut, but I would go to the doctor who would prescribe medicine for my illness. If I was spiritually sick, which I was (and we all always are) I should go to Bible study, the place where my Lord would speak to me life-giving words from His Word. The thought has always stayed with me. Years later it still comes to mind, now in this succinct form:
If I have cancer, I’d better not skip my oncology appointment to go get my hair cut.
I imagine that for some of you the process of walking in to Sunday morning worship, or a weekly Bible study, seems daunting. If you arrive alone, the father of lies whispers that no one really cares that you’ve arrived. If you walk in with a tainted past, he whispers that no one wants you. And on and on the whispers go — different lies for different seasons of life. Satan always implies that you are not really very sick, and that the truth spoken probably won’t apply to your situation, anyway.
The power of truth-infusion
But we need liberation from the bondage of error. We need freedom from wrong-thinking’s dark slavery! And we only receive that liberation as we know truth from the Truth-giver:
“We must never underestimate the power of truth. The world is full of confusion because the “god of this world” is the “father of lies” (2 Cor. 4:4, John 8:44). But Jesus is the light of the world. He banishes the darkness of falsehood wherever he is heard. He is truth and all he says liberates from the bondage of error. “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Truth frees.
… Our lives are controlled by what we value. Our values are shaped by how we perceive the world. True perceptions of reality help us to value what is truly good and truly beautiful. False perceptions lead to an enslaving love of evil. To love evil and do as you please may feel like freedom; but it is bondage, because its end is destruction. It is like the freedom of a skydiver who enjoys the free-fall but does not know that his parachute is defective and will not open. He thinks he is free, but he is enslaved to the irrevocable and destructive law of gravity.
Freedom is not doing what you please. Freedom is knowing the truth, loving the good, and never fearing the future.” (John Piper, Sunday School as Liberation)
So when we’re tempted to underestimate the power of truth-infusion, both in daily, private form (me with my Bible) and weekly, corporate form (group Bible studies and Sunday worship), remember Piper’s words:
“God alone can judge the power of a steady, weekly diet of truth in the life of a child or adult.”
Because we stray from believing in that power, we must set up habits. Daily habits. Even if only scraped out six-minute habits, do not believe the lie that time with your Lord is not necessary. You must realign your daily life. Truth must banish the darkness of falsehood! You are ill, and must ingest your medicine. Banishing the darkness of falsehood does not occur if you neglect the steady diet of truth.
The daunting is worth the liberation
The god of this world wants you to stay confused. He hates Jesus, who banishes the darkness of falsehood and liberates from the bondage of error. Do not listen to the lies! Get to know Jesus, the light of the world! At any and all costs, do not forsake sitting under the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. Do not forsake gathering with other Christians. Do not forsake the steady diet of truth!
Do not choose the haircut.
Photo: US Navy Seal, by Mass Communications Specialist Ashley Myers