While visiting my grandma one summer I decided to make her the victim of some pranks. I pulled various little pranks throughout the week and thoroughly enjoyed it. One day around this time my grandma made me a lunch meat sandwich. About halfway through enjoying my sandwich my grandma asks how it tastes. “Fine”, I say. She continues to inquire about my sandwich with a mischievous look on her face. She finally says, “Well, don’t you notice anything funny about it?” At this point I look down at my sandwich and notice an extra ingredient- paper towel. She assumed I would take a bite and notice the paper towel; to her delight I ate half of the sandwich without realizing the truth.
Our culture constantly tells us lies misconstrued as truth. Like a kid eating paper towel we unknowingly take them in. We let our culture shape our worldview and do not recognize God’s truth when we hear it. Passively accepting the messages of our culture leads us away from walking in the truth God gives us. Because we live in a culture of lies we must work diligently to separate the paper towel from the lunch meat. Here are three questions we can ask ourselves to help us with the separating.
Do I listen for my Shepherd’s voice?
In John 10 Jesus describes himself as a shepherd and his followers as sheep:
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Jesus calls us out by name. He knows us. If we listen we will recognize his voice and he will lead us. When we follow his lead he will keep us safe. He will continue to call out to us and we will hear his voice above the voices of the world. Listening to his voice protects us from believing lies. I don’t know if lunch meat is good for sheep but I do know our Good Shepherd will not feed us paper towel.
Do I know the truth about who I am?
As we listen to our Shepherd’s voice he reveals to us our true identity. If we don’t know the truth about who we are through Christ our identity will be shaped by the messages the world feeds us. One of the great things about our God is that he doesn’t keep our identity a mystery to us; he reveals it through his Word. He says we are children of God (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1-2). We are united with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). We are free from sin (Rom. 6:6). We are royalty (1 Peter 2:9). Knowing the truth about ourselves enables us to recognize lies about our identity. When we are rooted in our identity we remain grounded in truth. Recognizing lies is a key to protecting ourselves from eating paper towel along with our lunch meat. For more verses about our identity click here.
Do the people in my life encourage authentic living?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authentic as “not false or imitation”. In Genesis 1:27 we learn that we reflect the image of God. When we live honestly and truthfully in our relationships we allow our brothers and sisters to see glimpses of what God looks like. However, if we live lives base on lies we do not as accurately reflect the image of God. When we began to follow Christ he transformed us into new creatures. We ought to live as those who have been transformed. When we live in a way that is authentic, not putting on a false image, we show God to people. When we show God to each other we are showing each other truth. We have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters identify the paper towels in their sandwiches by living authentic lives.
Like a kid eating a paper towel sandwich we unknowingly take in lies. Listening to the voice of our Good Shepherd protects us from these lies. Believing our shepherd when he tells us about ourselves enable us to walk in the light of truth. Constantly surrounding ourselves with people that encourage authentic living creates community saturated in truth. When we listen, learn and live truth we do not fall prey to the lies of our culture. Let’s all stop eating paper towels.