What Is Truth?

Centuries ago, Pilate asked an important question. “What is truth?” And he asked it of Jesus, the person most qualified to answer.
The thing is, Pilate blew it. For he never waited for an answer.

Our Minds Are Powerful

You and I have active minds. For many of us, it’s working day and night. Making statements. Telling us who we are. Shaping how we feel and what truths we believe.

I must confess, for many years I didn’t ask, “What is truth?” I simply believed every thought running helter skelter through my head. If a thought appeared, my brain told me it must be true. Sadly, about 99.9% of those thoughts had a negative bias—against me!

I love the Epistle of John and the Holy Spirit kept taking me to this verse: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 NKJV).

When the Lord brings our attention to a verse, He wants us to learn a truth hidden within the words.

The Greek word “test”, dokimázō, means to literally or figuratively put the thoughts or words you hear to the test. Discern, scrutinize, examine so you know the source.

This is a command. John wanted us to develop the ability to discern truth from a lie. He knew, from experience, we often accept lies that come dressed as truth.

If you experienced abuse or neglect in your childhood, struggle with shame or anxiety, fear or depression, feelings of overwhelm or anger, then you lived in an environment where lies masqueraded, pretending to be truth. Here’s the thing. Those lies feel true. In fact, much of the time they feel more true than truth. Therefore, when those lies churn through our mind, we sit up and take notice. Deceived, we open the door for them to enter and allow them to abide with us. Sadly, some of us receive those lies as if they are Gospel truth from God Himself.

I did. I automatically believed whatever thought was the loudest. That meant I walked in fear and shame, believing I was unworthy of being treated with respect or kindness. I longed for joy and peace and for the Father’s smile of approval, but my thoughts told me I could never be good enough to experience anything but His frown.

Those thoughts set up housekeeping and ruled over me. Until I started putting them to the test. Now, everything didn’t switch to a happily ever after ending. Today, I still grapple with deceiving thoughts that try to take me captive. The need for discernment continues, for we live in a world ruled by hate and fear. Over the years, I’ve learned to take thoughts captive, rather than allow them to rule my life. I’ve experienced so much freedom. That freedom waits for you, too.

How to Learn Spiritual Discernment

Satan is the father of lies. He is skilled in dressing up lies to look like the truth so he can deceive us and turn our hearts away from the Lord.

The Apostle John commanded us to discern the spirits. Satan’s henchmen delight in taking a lie and wrapping a bit of truth around it. Kind of like a fisherman putting a wriggling worm on a hook to make the fish think its going to have a tasty dinner.

Truth matters. It is imperative for you and I to become skilled in knowing what is true or what is false.

I imagine you are wondering. How on earth do I develop discernment? How do I become successful in testing the spirits? Where do I begin? 

Good questions!

When a thought pops into your head, there are three possible sources:

1. You. Your brain is programmed to help you survive.

2. God. He is a Spirit. He speaks to your spirit. Your spirit either hears and responds by sharing with your body and soul, or you ignore and turn away from His voice.

3. The demonic. Its goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.

To begin, ask the Lord to help you know the source of your thoughts.

Here’s a test to help you discern.

  •  What happens inside you, when you look at that thought?
  • Do you feel worthless? Humiliated? Frightened? Condemned? Anxious? Distressed? Confused? Frustrated? Angry?
  • Does it flood you with feelings of powerlessness?
  • Cover you with shame and fear?
  • Overwhelm you with loneliness or pain from the past?

OR

  • Does the thought bring peace and light?
  • Does it turn your heart and eyes to Jesus?
  • Is it comforting?
  • Do your thoughts cause you to burst out in praise and adoration of the King of all kings?

Another simple test centers on the words of Jesus. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT).

If I find my peace being stolen or fizzling away, then I know the spirit behind the thought is evil. If my worship or praise dies and the voice of the Holy Spirit is silenced, then an unclean spirit smothers my worship. If I am consumed by a negative emotion that destroys my joy, then I know it is the enemy.

In that moment, I take action and speak aloud words like these:

“I am safe. Jesus is here with me. I reject depression (rejection, fear, confusion, etc.) in Jesus’ name. I choose Life. Jesus, be LORD of me. Thank you, for your precious blood. Wash me, cleanse me, fill me with your Spirit. Be LORD over my thoughts, my words, my deeds. Help me praise you. Thank you that greater is He who is within me, than he that is in the world.”

When I feel bombarded by hurtful thoughts of being rejected and unwanted, then I have a wonderful choice. I can refuse to be controlled by a spirit of rejection. So I say, “In Jesus’ name, I reject rejection. I choose Jesus Christ to be LORD over me. Thank you, Jesus, for in you, I am accepted. I am hidden with Christ in God. I am safe. I am loved. I am received. I choose life.”

If I still struggle to discern, I remember the words of Watchman Nee. “Even though I know not if this is of God or of Satan, yet I choose what is God’s and reject what is Satan’s.” And then I give thanks, for the Lord knows and He promises to guide me into all truth as I trust Him.

Dear Heart, do your thoughts line up with the truth of what Jesus says about you? If they don’t, then they come from the enemy. Rather than sleep with the enemy, cast them out in Jesus’ name.

Choose Jesus to be LORD and Master over you. The more you abide in Jesus, the less negativity will conquer you, and the more you will experience the joy of the Lord.

In Jesus

The voice of the Lord brings clarity as it opens the door to forgiveness, freedom and joy, while the voice of the enemy leads to confusion, accusation, and bondage.

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