Trust, but Verify

President Ronald Reagan adopted the phrase, “trust, but verify,” in the 1980’s when he was discussing US relations with the Soviet Union. It was a time of rampant disinformation – not unlike today. Present day, thanks to President Trump, we’re all familiar with the phrase, fake news. Say what you want about him, but he’s not wrong here. It’s nearly impossible to find truth in our society.

Sadly, disinformation is just as prevalent in the church as it is in society as a whole. The modern church has traded fundamental Biblical truth for watered down, PC motivational speaking. Euphoric, feel good messages that tell you to be who you want to be as long as it makes you happy are commonplace. 2 Timothy 4:3 told us, “for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” It is a reckless and frankly, dangerous precedent. Can true Biblical teaching uplift you and make you feel good? Of course it can. Conversely, it will reveal the error of our ways and force us to course correct. That doesn’t feel good. That is simply reality. The problem lies in society’s ability to accept what which isn’t pleasing to us.

Due to the abundance of deception, people are searching for truth. But the enemy knows this, and is at the ready to take advantage of the eager mind. Matthew 7:15 says, “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” We must be careful who we follow. Many popular leaders today claim to be disciples of the Lord and they’re nothing more than a glorified hype man. Romans 16:18 speaks of this saying, “for such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

As Christians, we have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of the gospel. We must verify every sermon we hear and every worship song we sing. If it is not explicitly found in the Bible, then we must turn away. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to test everything and hold fast to what is good. Additionally, Matthew 7:21 says, “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

So if there are false prophets among us, how are we to know what is real? We pray for God to show us! James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” By seeking God through prayer and studying His word, he will give us the wisdom to decipher truth.

The Bible tells us deception will only increase in the last days so we need to fill our hearts with His word. He is faithful when we seek Him. Stay strong friends! Keep seeking and spreading truth.

Until next time,

Erica Lee

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