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When God shows us steps that we must take in His direction, it is a dangerous thing to say no and take steps that lead us away from Him. The reason it is dangerous is this: sin has not only a hardening effect on our conscience, but it also has a darkening effect on our understanding. The longer we persist in sin, the less we will be able even to recognize the truth by which God can save us. By how we respond to the truth, we make it either easier or harder to understand God's will in the future. By our choices, we may make understanding the truth harder as time goes by. So if we are to be saved eternally, we must love God's truth more than we love our sins.
Very often, truth calls upon us to exercise our free will and make a decision. When there is a choice to be made between following truth (however painful that may be) and following our own desires, it is imperative that we choose to follow truth. Only in that way can we grow in our understanding of God's will. In fact, the Bible teaches that if we do not love the truth, God will allow Satan to deceive us with greater and greater falsehood (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
Certainly, none of us has a complete, perfect grasp of truth. For now, we are all "works in progress." But although our imperfections mean that we should be humble, we should also be willing to take a stand whenever our conscience indicates the difference between truth and falsehood. For most of us, the problem is not the difficulty of understanding the deep things of God; it is our unwillingness to deal straightforwardly with the parts of God's will that are simple and clear. Bible texts are often "hard" because they challenge us to obey God in ways that displease us.
When it comes to truth, most people have definite ideas about what they "want" to hear. But wherever God is concerned, we need to be careful. What matters most is not what we want to hear, but what is, in fact, the truth. If we insist that our religious teachers tell us we are all right just as we are, in the end the truth will condemn us. Paul warned about the danger of those who "will not endure sound teaching" and who "turn away from listening to the truth" (2 Tim. 4:3,4). As we study the Bible this week, let's concentrate on the need to value God's truth more than we value anything about ourselves. Jesus said that it is the truth that will make us free (Jn. 8:32).
Monday: Psalm 19:12-14
Key Idea: We ought to want to have our eyes opened to the truth.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.12, what does David say is hard for us to understand or discern? Can God help us with this understanding? Concerning our faults, should we welcome the truth or run away from it? Consider Jn. 3:19-21.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 5:21-23.
Tuesday: Ephesians 4:17-19
Key Idea: Sin darkens our mind and hinders us from understanding the truth.
Questions for Family Growth: How does sin affect our ability to understand God's truth? What does Hb. 3:13 say about the deceitfulness of sin? If we're not honest, can we progressively lose the ability to recognize the truth? Consider Jn. 8:42-47.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:1-5.
Wednesday: John 6:44,45
Key Idea: The people drawn to God are those who love His truth more than they love their sins.
Questions for Family Growth: If God must "draw" us before we can come to Him, does this mean some individuals are predestined to be lost? Can we choose to be the kind of person who is drawn to God's truth? Consider Jn. 6:66-69.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:6-11.
Thursday: 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Key Idea: If we don't love the truth, Satan will be allowed to lead us further away from the truth.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.10, why do some perish? What is said in vv.11,12 about what God will do in the lives of such individuals? What does Paul say about the devil in 2 Cor. 4:3,4?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:12-15.
Friday: 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Key Idea: We ought to "rejoice with the truth."
Questions for Family Growth: What effect does love for God and our fellow man have on our attitude toward truth? What does it mean to "rejoice" in regard to the truth? What does David say about God's word in Psa. 19:7-11?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:16-19.