We are living in very intense, tumultuous times! In America, the “melting pot” has become a “boiling pot”! In the midst of the turmoil, deep convictions are creating intense emotions and intense emotions are, in turn, creating deep convictions…some good, some bad, and some downright ugly!
In the midst of the wild pendulum swings of intense emotions, it is very difficult to arrive at complete, balanced, plumbline truth. In fact, it is almost impossible! But it is only the Truth that sets us free…the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth! Although partial truth, strongly felt, feels like whole Truth, it is not, and in the end it only brings greater bondage, not freedom! Over-compensation for error only creates more imbalanced error that in time will be attempted to be over-compensated for in the opposite direction, creating more imbalanced error. And so the pendulum swings and swings and swings! Whole Truth, God’s Truth, however, hangs still and undisturbed like a Plumbline!
Christians are not immune to these imbalances, and are possibly even more prone to them than others, for we often latch onto a portion of God’s truth on a matter and cling to it as if it is the totality of His Truth. Because we assume it has the authority of God behind it, having its foundation in the Word of God, we cling to it with a “holy” passion, tenacity, and conviction. Partial, imbalanced convictions, however, even when drawn from Scripture, can actually be dangerous and even play right into the Enemy’s hand, causing distortion, deception, and division. I see this happening on a broad scale right now among God’s people, and it breaks my heart.
In talking with my wife about this the other day, I thought of a “tweet” I put out some 7 years ago and then later expanded on in a relatively short post. I pulled that post up for her to read and in re-reading it myself, felt it might also be very timely to share again on this blog.
I pray that it is helpful as you process the complex, deeply-layered, no-simple-solution challenges that are facing our nation and our world right now. As those who are called to have the mind and heart of Christ, and to be “salt” and “light” in this world, may we be the most insightful, well-balanced, thoroughly-informed, holistic, reconciling voices in the midst of this volatile, polarized, broken world of ours. I personally believe that becoming that voice begins with what is summed up in the following words. I hope you are blessed by them! -David
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Our Deepest Convictions
“Our deepest convictions should come from a positive response to Truth, not from a negative reaction to error, or we will fall into new error.”
God Himself, and His eternal purpose, are infinitely positive. He is Light. He is Life. He is Love. All that He is, all that He does, and all that He will do flow out of His incomprehensible goodness, righteousness and truth. His thoughts and His ways embody the fullness of glory and perfection. Nothing in all of His infinite attributes are the slightest bit diminished or tainted by that which is negative.
All that is around us, however, is tarnished by the negative. All falls short. Everything here eventually fails. We are immersed in the atmosphere of short-coming, disappointment, twistedness, opposition, destruction, decay and death. These are the powerful forces at work in our fallen universe. This is our daily reality.
As we are battered and bruised by these forces, our human nature reacts and responds with shun and disgust. We become negative to the negative. Instead of this bringing us to a true positive, however, it merely keeps us whirling in an imbalanced cycle of partial and overcompensating negatives. We latch onto jaded perceptions, reactionary conclusions and imbalanced convictions, and own them as Truth. These in turn lead to subsequent excesses and imbalances which begin the cycle all over again. Instead of being a settled plumbline, we become an ever swinging pendulum.
Nothing is more powerful for forming deep convictions within us than that which deeply touches our emotions. When pain, heartache, injury, abuse, suffering, offense and the like creep or crash into our lives, we process it emotionally and draw conscious conclusions that fundamentally shape our lives and perspectives. It is all but inevitable in the process that we over-compensate for our negative experiences by hyper-inflating certain aspects of truth that counter the error or evil that we have experienced. Powered by our strong emotions, these partial and imbalanced conclusions form deep convictions within us that are rarely, in the fullest sense, objective, holistic, complete and balanced.
If we are to break this reactionary cycle, then, we must begin at a new starting point. We must begin where all is positive and Truth is found in fullness and balance. We must begin where all is proactive and nothing is reactive. Our starting point must be God Himself. “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) As we look unto Him, we behold the One who is the TRUTH. Nothing can be added or taken away from Him. Nothing is jaded, askew, tarnished or tainted in all of His perfections. All is full, balanced, unsullied, and at rest. This must be our beginning point; our Alpha in the search for Truth. All of our highest conceptions, deepest convictions and most far-reaching conclusions must spring out of this pure, non-reactionary revelation of God and His eternal purpose.
As this becomes our starting point and we come into a clear revelation of the One who is the Light, we begin to see that which is also of and according to the Light. “…in your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9) “…for the fruit of the light consists in all righteousness, goodness and truth.”(Ephesians 5:9) Here our understanding of that which is of and according to the Light is purely positive. This is the Truth that God Himself is, knows and lives by. This is where we discover Truth that is protected from the strong and subtle winds of human negativity and reactionism. This is where our highest revelations and deepest convictions are purely fashioned.
Not only do we see “light” in God’s Light, we are also able to see and discern that which is not light in His Light. “…for it is light that makes everything visible.” (Ephesians 5:14) “The light shines in the darkness.” (John 1:5a) Only through His Light are we able to clearly and properly discern all forms of darkness. This darkness appears as varying shades of grey, all the way to black. It also appears as shining forms of counterfeit light. When our starting place is the pure positive of God’s Light, all forms of darkness are seen proactively and purely as God sees them, not as reactionary “double negatives” to darkness. Only then do our convictions become “plumb line” rather than “pendulum” in nature. Only then do they purely represent Truth and not reactively embody a new form of “enlightened” darkness.
If we are to be the true “children of Light”, then, we must lift up our eyes far above all the darkness and negativity that surrounds us. We must lay aside all the weights and hindrances that keep us earthbound and with sustained gaze, behold the One who inhabits eternity, enthroned in resplendent glory. We must let the darkness-destroying purity of His Light permeate into the deep roots of our humanity, heal us and convert us to His pure positive.
This is where our deepest convictions must be formed if we are to fully and purely know and live in the TRUTH.
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May we rise up above all the turmoil and turbulence of this hour and immerse ourselves in the pure Light of God’s Truth. May we embody and be the voice of “the wisdom that is from above” which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17KJV
That is what Truth looks like when it is Plumbline! Amen!!