I have noticed than when we get toward the end of life we are divided into two broad categories: the satisfied and the unsatisfied. I have also noticed that these categories do not necessarily match up with things like financial security or worldly success. I think the distiquishing feature is the recognition that the principles by which we lived turned out to be true or not.
If we live, for example, for the accumulation of weath, toward the end we begin to realize that did not bring happiness. The principle that it would has turned out not to be true. We end in dissatisfaction.
So too if we live for pleasure, it doesn’t take forever to realize that pleasure is not an satisfying end in itself.
It is quite common these days for folks to live with the idea that there is no truth, at least no absolute truth. They believe that truth is relative. They live their lives accordingly. As the end approaches, it may become obvious that certain things are true, always and eternally. The life lived in the lie of relative truth ends badly, unsatisfied.
It seems, then, to me, that life satisfaction requires, as early as possible, learning that there is absolute truth and the identification of those things which are eternally true. Once discovered it becomes obvious that life should be lived in recognition of these truths.
How can these truths be discovered? Many believe in the trial by error method. You hear this expressed when someone says a child has to “make his own mistakes.” Truth can be learned this way. And all of us gain at least some knowledge by this method. It is, however, a painful way to go. Some of us learn so slowly that by the time the lesson is learned, much of life has been wasted.
It would seem a naturally good idea that once these truths were learned that they be recorded and passed on to others. This would greatly reduce the need for trial by error learning. For centuries it was generally considered that the Bible was such a compilation. In fact, believers in its truth contend that not only is it a compilation of learned truth, but rather, it is truth provided by the Creator who, as creator, would certainly be in the best position to know truth. The truth of what He says therein having been proved by lives lived in accordance with its teachings.
For centuries, the Bible was generally accepted as containing truth. There were those who attempted to follow it’s precepts and those who refused to. Even those who refused admitted that the Bible was “right” they just didn’t want to follow the truths therein.
Eventually, men began to question the validity of the Bible as truth. It may have been due to the inconsistency between the Bible and the lives lived by those who claimed to be adherents to its truth. It may be because of the development of man. As man began to discover science and learn how to put the truths of science into play for the betterment of mankind, some where so dazzled by the advancements that they looked to science as the arbiter of truth. It was another sad case of the gift being cherished over the giver.
Certain misconceptions about the Bible arose. Principally, the idea that the Bible offered a choice between joy now and joy later. We could have our happiness now, temporarily, or suffer now and be happy forever in heaven. The truth of scripture is that it provides the only means for joy (more satisfying than happiness) now and forever.
Whatever the reason, it is no longer sufficient to point to the Bible and urge adherence to it’s teachings. We are now in a position of having to prove the validity of Bibical Teaching before we can effectively gain new adherents to its truth.
There also developed the misconception that the Bible was an expression of an ideology. It’s no longer sufficient to say “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” Even if that expresses our position, it’s not a workable argument. We need to remember that scripture is the Revelation of Jesus. That the goal is to introduce Him. The scripture is the effective revelation; not the end to be worshiped. It’s not about a sounder theory; it’s about Jesus.
We need to spend some time re-evaluating the Bible. We need to recognize it more as a revelation of Christ than a book of rules. We need to be able to relate how Jesus has made the difference. Our lives are better not because we have followed different rules, but because we follow Him.
If we are to have any success in our Great Commission; we need to do a better job of relating the Truth of Christ.