by Beckie Lindsey @BeckieLindsey_
One of the hottest topics in our culture today is fake news. Obviously, not all news is fake. At the same time, not everything we hear and read is true. It goes without saying the importance of knowing the difference between what is authentic and what is counterfeit.
The United States Secret Service advises the best way to guard against the threat of accepting counterfeit currency, is to become more familiar with authentic currency.
The same concept can be applied to our walk with God.
The Bible states that God Himself is truth.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father accept through me.” John 14:6 NIV
Not only does this Scripture tell us that God is the truth, it reveals that Jesus is the only way to the truth of eternal life.
And yet . . .
A majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life according to Pew Research center in 2008.
Have these Christians read John 14:6 that clearly states no one comes to the Father accept through Jesus?
Considering a more recent study conducted by Barna Group, the problem is evident. Many Christians don’t read the Bible.
- More than 60 percent of Americans can’t name either half of the Ten Commandments or the four Gospels of the New Testament.
- Some 80 percent including “born again” Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is a direct quote from the Bible.
- And 31 percent believe a good person can earn his/her way into heaven.
A recent Lifeway study found that 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible while 45 percent read it only once a week.
I’m going to ask you a tough question. Can you name the Ten Commandments? I’m not asking the question to bring shame. I’m asking it to bring awareness to our need of the truth.
If you don’t know all of the Ten Commandments, they can be found in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5.
This world is full of counterfeits that look and feel so close to the truth that we can easily be deceived. Not only do we leave ourselves vulnerable to false religions, but prone to other forms of counterfeits the world will offer. Our desire to be happy and content can lead to sources other than the true joy of God.
Here are a few common counterfeits to joy and happiness:
Alcohol and drugs
In contrast with the results from the Barna Group and LifeWay Research above, 90 percent of churchgoers said they, “desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do.”
If we desire to please and honor Jesus in all we do, we better get to know what that means. The best way to get to know Jesus is through the study of the Bible and prayer.
Bible Study 101
Many Christians state they have tried to read the Bible and don’t understand it. God is the source of all wisdom. We must ask Him to enlighten our Bible study.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5
- Make a scheduled time and stick to it
If you are a morning person, most likely you will need to set your alarm an extra fifteen minutes to half an hour earlier. If you prefer evenings, carve out a time before you go to bed.
- Tell someone your plan
We all need accountability to keep us on track.
- Choose a Book of the Bible
If you have never done this before, it’s best to start with a short book, preferably in the New Testament. Try James, 1 John, Titus, or 1 Peter.
- Read the Entire Book
Plan to spend three to four weeks doing this.
Next you will re-read the same book from the beginning once again. This time reading slowly, verse by verse and journaling. Which brings me to the next step.
- Get a Notebook or Journal
Write down “themes” and “applicable principles.”
Write down key scriptures to memorize.
I like to use the SOAK method, an acronym for: Scripture, Observation, Application, and Kneeling in prayer.
- Invest in Some Study Aids
A Commentary, which explains and interprets scripture and is written by knowledgeable Theologians.
A Lexicon, which is like a Bible dictionary.
A Bible study guide.
There are also lots of online resources such as, biblegateway.com. blueletterbible.org
- Be a Doer of the Word
Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
God wants His children to walk in freedom. When we settle for counterfeits, we become a slave to them. The way to freedom is through the truth. But you must know the truth to identify the lies.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
What are some ways you practice authenticity?
And Frankly, My Dear . . . : That’s all she wrote!
Beckie Lindsey is an award-winning writer, poet, freelancer, and blogger. She is the editor of Southern California Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, LLC., a national news syndicating agency. She is the author of devotions, a devotional study journal, and the upcoming YA novel, Beauties from Ashes. She and her husband Scott have three adult children, two adorable cats and live in California. Learn more about Beckie at https://beckielindsey16.com/