Fool's Gold (Part 2 of "A Word To The Wise")
“The Fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14)
Fool’s Gold, have you ever heard of that? It is a mineral called pyrite that has a striking resemblance to real gold in its appearance. To the unskilled and uninformed, finding a lump of this stuff while you are out searching for real gold can be a sign that you are about to uncover the mother load! However, pyrite is virtually worthless, and its most common use is in the production of sulfuric acid which is a highly corrosive chemical compound that will even eat its way through steel.
The name, Fool’s Gold, is very apropos when it comes to understanding the power Satan wields when he drops his nuggets of “gold” in our path. We can be so enticed and even convinced that what we have found is the real deal. We embrace his seemingly wise and prudent philosophies, opinions, and positions about what is right and noble and what is the highest good for humanity. We adopt lines of thought and reason that seem and sound so logical and rational that we would be fools not to jump in with both feet. However, once we incorporated his worthless imitations into our core belief system, a violent chemical reaction occurs. The latent sulfuric acid of lies begins to corrode the steel of truth in our souls and we find the entire structure of our lives at the verge of collapse.
Satan has so perfected his imitation that he has sent not just individuals and cultures, but entire nations, running wildly in a gold-rush fever to dig mines that lead straight to hell. He has even counterfeited Christ so cunningly that some of the most devout believers can be duped into following a pseudo-Christianity that smacks of the real deal. Here is how Jesus warned His followers about this:
For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones. [Mat 24:24 NLT]
The Apostle Paul also warned about this in his letter to the Ephesians:
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. [Eph 4:14 NLT, emphasis added]
So, being aware of a potential pitfall is one thing. Being prepared and empowered to uncover deceit and triumph over it is quite another. Thankfully, scripture has given us everything we need to ditch the pyrite and stand upright on the immutable truth of God’s Word. The Apostle Paul finishes the statement above with these words:
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. [Eph 4:15 NLT]
So, we are to speak the truth - in love, as the counter to the counterfeit. This little statement implies that there is a right way and a wrong way to speak the truth. And that there is a right way and a wrong way to use the truth. Let’s look a little closer at this concept...
To even get as far as speaking the truth we need to make sure that we know what truth is. In its simplest form truth is the essence of something. It can only be discovered as an already-existing reality, it can not be created. Truth has its origin from the eternal and then can be understood in the temporal. We can never own the truth, we can only steward it. Truth must then be the essence of the Creator, for this is the only way the statement of Jesus, “I am THE Truth,” could have its validity. In fact, the simplest of all statements, I AM, is really the definition of truth! That is exactly who Jesus presented Himself to be - “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!’" [John 8:58 NLT]
This is the “acid test” for truth. One of the ways to determine if pyrite is actually gold is to put a drop of nitric acid on the specimen. Pure gold will retain its beautiful gold color, pyrite will turn black! If what is coming out of my mouth did not originate from Jesus, it is fools gold, and it is just a matter of time before the world that I have created with my words turns black. Didn’t Jesus say that we are to be VERY careful about how/what we speak, for we will be responsible for the worthless (the value of pyrite - fool’s talk) words that come out of our mouths? It not only destroys us, but contaminates all those who hear. (Matt. 12:36)
Now, if we are going to speak the truth in love, we must understand what the essence of love is. There is a whole lot of pseudo love flowing around that makes it really difficult to distinguish love from lust. Let me explain…
The Apostle Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 a beautiful description of love’s essence - love is NEVER self-serving. Love is ALWAYS giving itself away. Love lives for the benefit and blessing of others. The simplest statement we can make about the essence of love is this: God IS Love. Therefore, if I am showering the people I love with love, to be authentic, it must find its source in and lead others to God.
This is where the fools gold begins to expose itself. If Jesus is the essence of truth, “I Am,” and Jesus is the essence of the action of Love, “I Give,” how can we discern the counterfeit? Can we boil down Satan’s essence to two statements? In the previous post there is a reference to Satan’s declaration of independence from God in Isaiah 14. His first recorded words are, I WILL. This is the most foolish statement ever made. Satan convinced himself that he could exist without God. If his quest to remove God succeeded, he would cease to exist! The second statement that must follow I Will, is I Want, which is the essence of lust. Love is the relentless pursuit of selflessness. Lust is the relentless pursuit of selfishness. These two words look and sound so similar but the destination could not be more polar opposite: heaven or hell.
So, speaking the truth in love is the relentless pursuit of sharing truth for the sole purpose of bringing people into an encounter with the Father of Life. Speaking the truth in love will require us to surrender our agendas, reputations, opinions, comforts, and even our will so the will of God can be accomplished through us. Speaking the truth in love is the essence of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, living in and through us.
Speaking the truth in lust is the relentless pursuit of bringing people into an encounter with the father of lies. Speaking the truth in lust always has an ulterior motive and a hidden agenda that represents I Will, I Want. Speaking the truth in lust presents the lie as the highest goal of humanity, love yourself above all else. Satan has perfected the craft of twisting truth and tainting love to get what he wants, worshippers. My, how his congregation has grown!
The what and why of speaking the truth can become an innocuous theological discussion unless the how we speak the truth is brought front and center. The way we speak the truth is more than just the words we say, it is the sum and total of the way we live our lives. The old adage that actions speak louder than words is never truer when it comes to truth. If we really believe that we have the truth, our actions and life choices are the litmus test for the veracity of our faith. It is interesting to note that one of the greatest criticisms Jesus had against His own nation was that they were hypocrites! That indictment still seems to stick with His Church.
The how-to of truth is a critical skill that the Church of Jesus must learn, and learn quickly. In our quest to shake the hypocrite label, we have become “hyper-crits” - thinking that being hyper-critical of a godless culture is going to make dent in the darkness. We sit in our churches, sit around our dinner tables, and sit in front of our screens criticizing evil people for the mess that they are making of our world. We have spent so much time and energy on exposing the darkness that we don’t have much left for executing the light. Our actions must begin to speak louder than our words. If a hypocrite is a person who says one thing and does another thing, a hyper-crit is a person who says many things and does nothing!
Multiple generations of the propagation of the doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1) and Satan speaking the truth in lust has produced a near-global culture of humanism (a.k.a. Satanism) that worships a warped truth that liberating humanity from the restriction, prohibitions, sanctions, and bigoted prejudices of religion (any religion that has absolutes) is the only way we humans will experience the essence of our existence. The doctrine of demons is a razor’s edge away from severing absolute (and therefore, Divine) truth and replacing it with relative truth, which allows the redefining of absolute to mean this: we are absolutely free to do and be whatever we desire (as long as we don’t hurt anyone in the process). That postulate is a mammoth mountain of manure! No wonder why Jesus called Satan, “the lord of the flies.''
The how-to of truth takes the knowledge of the truth and converts it to the practice of the truth. Jesus was (is) the personification of truth. He spoke it, lived it, was it. The results speak for themselves. In every and any situation Jesus knew exactly what to say and do to systematically destroy the works of the devil. He could not be refuted or hindered. When He spoke and acted on the truth, demons shrieked in terror, diseases ceased to exist, bread and fish multiplied to feed multitudes, storms stilled, water became His walkway, baron fig trees withered, and the smug and arrogant human powers-that-be were silenced in shame. The people of His day had no words to say except that, “He does ALL things well” (Mark 7:37). Jesus is THE PERFECT PERSON.
Before we excuse ourselves from the conversation, we must concede that there really is no excuse, just refusal. Jesus specifically told us to say, do, and be just like Him. He promised that the results would (could) be the same if we believe and act in faith. Jesus said that it was more advantageous for us if He left the scene in person and came to us in the form of His Spirit, which He called, The Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Truth is not an “it.” The Spirit of Truth embodies the full belief system and behavior of Jesus. The Spirit of Truth can also go by another name, WISDOM!
Jesus was the personification of Wisdom. Wisdom basically means extreme skill. Wisdom is the skill behind making the Word of God come to life and manifest in any and every situation. Wisdom is the understanding of how to apply information and knowledge. Wisdom is the expression of what was working in God when He was creating the universe (see Prov. 8). Wisdom is what has the potential to work in us and through us when we receive and are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Wisdom is the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus is Wisdom.
How will we win the war of words? How will we win the war of ideologies? How will we win the philosophical, ethical, moral, logical, and rational arguments presented in the doctrines of demons? Wisdom, Wisdom, Wisdom, Wisdom, Wisdom, Wisdom, and finally, Wisdom! Jesus said His words are Spirit and Life. Every pure golden nugget of wisdom we need is contained in the Word of God and mined out by the Spirit of God. He places His Word in our hearts and minds. We must speak this truth in love and do this truth in love - that is Wisdom in the flesh.
If you want a concentrated dose of high-potency Wisdom, I would encourage you to read and meditate in the Book of Proverbs. Written by King Solomon, who the Bible calls the “wisest man to live” (other than Jesus, of course), his Spirit-inspired sayings are compiled into 31 segments - one for every day of the month. They are chock-full of truth nuggets. You will never have to question if what you are reading is fool’s gold or not. Jesus lived out every principle of truth presented in these wisest of all sayings.
What our world needs now is not more commentary and messages about what is wrong and how big the problems are. The world is waiting for Wisdom to walk out of the churches and into the streets and manifest the solutions to every woe and ill that is plaguing humanity. May what was said of Jesus, begin to be said about His Church, “They do all things well.”
A Proverb a day will keep the fool’s gold away!
by Pastor Jim Anan