Which will we see? To what will we give the attention of our lives? Will we seek to see truth or will we allow a measure of blindness to touch and so influence our hearts. Does it even matter?
The ancient Roman Governor asked, “What is truth?” He stood, examining the Face, the embodiment of Truth itself and asked the eternal question that must be accurately answered if man is to find his way on this earth and in this life.
Which way and what teaching “leadeth unto life?” It is far more than a question of whether the cup is half full or half empty; it is the serious question of direction that eventuates in destination, and even the determination of our ultimate arrived-at destination.
There are eventualities in this life: Choice produces consequence. Go this way and we find a painful, arduous journey. Go another way and life is simpler, easier passageways await us. All come to us as the product of our choices. Without our bidding, we are presented with a full array of “get-it-right” or “get-it-wrong” possibilities that offer no happy middle ground: We are, by our decisions and by our direction, the inheritors of either joy or sorrow, even life or death.
For the believer in Christ, the optional endpoints are either heaven or hell. Not something, I would suppose as inconsequential as choosing an ice cream flavor on a hot July afternoon. Even among sincere follower-believers in Jesus that point – of heaven and hell – is a matter of some unsettled dispute. Some argue for a hell that is a temporary holding place at worst and non-existent fancy of heartless theologians at best.
But ours is not to debate the temperature range of a place called hades. Ours is to consider the question at hand, that of so-called “measures” of truth versus purity of truth, and of counterfeit versus genuine teaching and faith and understanding of the enduring things, the remaining things that portend to faith, hope and love.
Since this is potentially a question of life or of death, a matter of light or of darkness, we dare not ignore the implications of our response, our settled understanding.
As a young man in search of Truth, I came upon a religio-philosophical “way” called Theosophy. The shining attraction that caught my heart’s eye was the truth embedded in the teachings and the ways of Theosophy. Yet as I followed deeper into the way presented, especially in The Prophet, I unearthed conflicting and even subtle but serious untruths.
(Much later, I would discover that the truths I found contained within Theosophy had been “lifted” “pilfered,” borrowed from God’s own word! This blatant plagiarism violates even Gibran’s self-state standards of what is right and what is wrong).
If we were to enjoy a bowl of fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries for breakfast, we would congratulate ourselves on eating a healthy meal. And if we just sprinkled a bit of arsenic powder on top of the berries, what would be the net effect now of our breakfast?
As long as we live in these mortal bodies, we will be susceptible to beliefs, to the acceptance of words that are not true. No child of man is immune to misunderstanding, wrong interpretation, deficient beliefs. We are able to recognize and avoid systems of untruth, the shrewd suggestions of the evil one, wrapped in the bright colors of truth.
Certainly, “Jesus followers” have no corner on, no exclusive right to the use of truth. The Buddhist, the Taoist, the Atheist and more are able to and do speak truth. But there’s, outside of Christ is a truth mixed with error. And when one speaks that which is other than revealed truth, can we, should we as children of Light recommend, endorse, applaud those efforts at all?
We cannot, as children of Truth become sponsors of untruth, cheerleaders for deception. We must, so far as we are able, speak the truth in love without bias, without accommodation of earthy, worldly philosophies and without hesitation or apprehension.
An existential “gospel” of self-help and self-improvement floods us from a multitude of directions. Those who are agents, more of their own selves than of God’s truth are at the core, erroneous and are therefore unrighteous. Regardless of any other truth they may speak, why should we give ear to that which is at its center, false?
Whenever we move into the chambers of “self-help” we have deviated sharply and decisively from the singular component necessary to be truly “saved.” We must all find the place in our hearts, in our minds, and in our souls that we know that there is absolutely “no good thing that dwelleth” in us. We languish, without Christ in abject spiritual poverty; we are barren, destitute, unable to do, to accomplish any life-giving thing without the supreme, full and final enablement of the cross of Jesus Christ and of His accompanying truth.
There can be no equivocation on this point. Sin, and therefore death “dwelleth” within us all, outside of Christ. We “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We cannot save ourselves. The best attempts of the best men have fallen pathetically short of obtaining even a measure, an iota of self-righteousness, when all the righteousness of man is as filthy rags.
I throw myself wholly and completely on the sacrifice, the love, the pain, the sorrow the humiliation, the loss, indeed the power of the cross of Jesus or I will in no wise obtain or inherit eternal life.
The pop-spiritualist Dr. Wayne Dyer has himself stated, “My belief is that the truth is a truth until you organize it, and then becomes a lie. I don’t think that Jesus was teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and peace. What I tell people is don’t be Christian, be Christ-like. Don’t be Buddhist, be Buddha-like.”
In this statement is the mixture. There is truth and there is error, bound together by an adhesive that not only affixes one to the other, truth to lie, but that also cements and traps us in what ultimately is untruth.
Dyer believes that “the truth is a truth until you organize it, and then (the truth) becomes a lie.” A powerful tenet of truth is that whether organized or unorganized, truth stands alone, by itself, and remains truth whatever is done to categorize, organize or systematize it.
Dyer is correct (at least in my opinion) that Jesus did not teach “Christianity.” Jesus taught men to follow Him, to hear Him, to bear testimony of Him and to do so to the exclusion of any other god. He placed Himself, after all at Caesarea-Phillipi, before the rock wall wherein were ensconced the myriad gods of Rome and Israel combined when He asked, “Who do you say that I, the Son of Man am?”
But in Dyer’s statement (truth) concerning what Jesus taught is also a statement of untruth. He gives the lie to his former words by his latter statement where he includes Christ with Buddha in equal significance. We cannot worship this God and that god. We cannot at the same time follow the Way of Jesus and the way of Buddha. Jesus presents Himself as God. Buddhism recognizes no omnipotent creator deity. Jesus came teaching us to “you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Buddhism rejects any dogmatic beliefs in a Supreme God, seeing that these only hinder the attainment of nirvana, the Buddhist equivalent of the Christian “salvation.”
For those who would find true eternal life, there is but one, singular doorway into that condition and place.
There is one, singular “Book of truth.” That Book is the canon of Holy Scripture. There is one, singular “Way” into the presence of the Father. That Way is Jesus.
There is one, singular “Life” that leads to eternal life.
Sometimes, and for some folks, the simplicity of God’s eternal word is not mystical enough, not fashionable enough. The quest for something unusual, something hidden among the folds of the thick mists of life can be overwhelmingly seductive, while Jesus sought to be incredibly simple in His explanation of life and the way that leads there.
John, who is called the “beloved” and who walked with, listened to, touched, handled, concerning the Word of life explained, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
John said “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—
He declared, “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us– that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Wayne Dyer and Kahil Gibran and Socrates and Deepak Chopra and Mahatma Gandhi all have spoken truth. Lucifer has spoken truth. Jesus IS the Truth.
As such, as ultimate Truth Jesus simply is enough for me. Jesus is all I need. My flesh cannot assist my quest for life. My will, my mind, my acrobatic tricks of imagination and of ingenuity will bring me what these have brought every man who ever sought to save himself by the strength of his own desire – and that state is called “death.”
The eventual result of self-help and self-salvation is separation from the Light Giver, from the Hope Bringer, from Jesus.
Love and Grace,