Sometimes its just plain difficult to figure out what you believe. As I’ve been taking my teenagers through the book of Revelation the past couple of months, I feel like my own views of the end times are changing in some ways. But I have to keep myself honest. Just because certain view points are logical, attractive, new, or different doesn’t make them right. This happens with so many different issues and viewpoints in life. Where do you stand when it comes to the gay marriage debate, abortion, war, justice on terrorism, etc. How do you figure out what you believe?
How do you figure out what you believe is really the wrong question. Its way too you-centered. People these days believe what they want to be true, not necessarily what they are convicted to be true. We may need less views and more convictions. Convictions tend to hold people more honest to their beliefs rather than just wishy-washy views. The right question is: How do you figure out what is true? Truth has been under attack for several years. Not just truths, but also the concept of the existence of absolutely truth has been attacked by the post-modernists. As gospel-centered Christians, we must believe that absolute truth exists because a true God exists who has revealed all truth. Absolute truth is ultimately found and fixed in Jesus Himself.
So finally, how do you figure out what is actually true? Out of all the options, viewpoints, debate arguments, and alternatives…is there any way to claim we have the truth in our corner? Here are five simple statements I take myself through and encourage our teens to do the same while they are searching for God’s absolute truth on the matter in whatever viewpoint or issue they are researching:
1. Base it on the Bible. Everyone bases their truth on something whether its history, science, the status quo, their personal logic, the Bible, etc. Every single one of those proves to be faulty in some way except for the Word of God. The Bible gives direct or indirect wisdom to all of “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Bible will speak to your question and give you direction on the viewpoint you are struggling through.
2. Ground it in the gospel. Everyone has a major theme in life that everyone comes back to. If its love, justice, law and order, the good of humanity, or reaching utopia, everyone is filtering their viewpoints through their major life theme. The Bible says our major life theme is the gospel and glory of Jesus. So make sure your theme is supported by the gospel of Jesus. How does His person, character, obedient life, sacrificial death, powerful resurrection, ruling Lordship, or triumphant return to speak to it?
3. Preview whole passages. There will be heavy chunks of Scripture that address your confusion more than others. Find that section of Scripture, read the context before, after, and surrounding it. Follow the author’s flow of thought. God will bring His truth to light.
4. View other verses. Everyone can easily make a new doctrine or truth from any verse ripped out of context. You must make sure your viewpoint from Scripture is supported by other verses in the Bible as well. Let Scripture interpret Scripture.
5. Questions smarter Christians. Lastly, go to those other Christians who are smarter, more mature, seasoned, trustworthy, and who obviously love Jesus and His Word. Sit them down, buy them a a coffee, and let them hear you out. Your questions, your thoughts, and your struggles in the matter. Then hear them out, and have a real conversation as you discuss the issue exhaustively. The more important the issue, the longer and deeper the conversation. Pray through it together.
The way to be a Christian of conviction and not with shallow views, think it all through fully and biblically. Learn how to love God with your mind.