In the first part of this article, the warning of Colossians 2:8 was compared to cases where we think that we know more than Jesus did. With this over-confidence and pride, we make decisions (or even teach others) based on what we think is a good idea, even when this contradicts the omniscient instruction of God.
Another risk (besides being caught up in human ideas) is in being carried away by falsehoods propagated by evil forces. The enemy of truth and righteousness, along with his army of demons, has had centuries to practice making lies sound good. Satan didn’t invite Eve to rebel against God directly; he painted a picture of being left out (while skipping the whole part about the fatal consequences of adding sin to a perfect life). With the devil’s help, otherwise-rational people (often with the goal of justifying their actions) may spew nice-sounding phrases that are not only overt lies (whether they know it or not), but are also part of evil forces’ plan to sneak in and deceive those who are earnest about trying to find the truth.
Entire worldviews are constructed from what “sounds good”, or what “feels right”, or what is popular, or simply from what others say. Those might give an ego boost to those who have crafted their viewpoints to cover their own shortcomings, but comfort does not inherently correspond to correctness. The cleverness of a retort cannot be used to measure its value. Too many quips are just a means of passing along corrupted messages that build a beachhead of sin within those who aren’t defending their ears, mind, and hearts.
In fact, I suspect that much of what was described as “human thinking” in the first part of this article is actually corrupted and tainted by evil spiritual forces, so the differences between these two are perhaps less than the overlap between them.
So, what do we do? I propose that the solution is perhaps simpler to describe than the problem, although much harder to actually practice:
First, learn enough about the truth to be able to spot anything that is not truth. There are no “gray areas” of truth – only scenarios where we don’t know enough to discern it. God’s Word is probably the best source of truth, but when coupled with attention to His guidance, we receive an endless supply of what we need to navigate through the minefield of noise – a mix of overlapping truth and lies – that surround us.
Said another way, if you’re following God, and aren’t sure what is true and what is not true, just ask Him.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.
John 8:32-34 NLT
Then, don’t accept anything (no matter the source) as true, without first running it through the filter of God’s truth. Take time to think through claims that other people make. Evaluate lessons and teachings before incorporating them into your life. Think before (not after) forwarding a poignant or smart-sounding article online. Consider the context and implications of clever sayings that you may have heard – even if they come from trusted pastors and teachers. The best of them will admit their imperfections, and humbly accept that not everything they say is the Gospel.
We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT
In a world of “high-sounding nonsense”, often the truth is much simpler. The “plain truth” can change our lives, though, and give us an unshakable foundation upon which to stand. Don’t be captured by lies!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.