In 1982 I heard for the first time a record by a band called The Smiths. One of their more popular songs was titled, What Difference Does it Make? I would never use a secular song to infer that it was relative to gospel truth, but it is a good question. What difference does anything make? Who can answer?
This is not really as simple a question as it appears, because the echoed answer will be a biproduct of each and every person’s attitude, perspective and character. So, the question may seem overasked and obvious, but I want to address this as succinctly as I can in this brief page.
Before we can assess the value of something, we have to discern the nature of “value.” If I am selling a painting I painted which took many hours, and became to me the high point of my career, yet I am unknown and not too many others like the work I did, the market value for my paintings would be very low. What would alter that? My growing popularity as an artist would change that. And if my paintings became higher in demand, that would change things even more. Yet the painting has remained unchanged, and the artist the same—me. So the value is then not in the least bit determined by either the creator or creation, but by those who are faced with the art; by those who have not created the painting themselves, nor have taken the time to consider what went into the making of that painting or anything about the artist himself. The artist painstakingly worked to create something. Yet in the end that has no value . . . unless the masses see otherwise.
So is often the case with God and how people perceive Him. If others only see sideways variations of biblical truth, or less than perfect versions of Christ himself (that is all of us), yet equate those things to the blanketing idea that all of these flawed variations of Christianity equals God himself, the value is deeply skewed. People will start to value the biproduct instead of the actual Creator; they will place a value (good or bad) upon the subset of the original, which is like making a photocopy of a Da Vinci. Same image yes, but absolutely no relationship to the value of the original. So many are quick to criticize and blur the distinction between artist and art. In the case of God, they should be separated for creation is not to be worshiped, but to be seen as proof of God’s power and majesty.
Now this is where the title of this post comes in. Truth equals truth. Lies equal non-truth. There is no way around it, just like no one is “sort of” pregnant, no one tells a “half-lie.” The truth is either pure, or not. If it is not, it cannot be considered truth. Perception does not equal truth, does not change truth, and does not have any bearing on the essence of absolute truth. Perception is the masses giving their own input and value to a thing, based on personal understanding, depth of character and interest to know the truth of a matter.
We are taught as children in the event of a fire, to stay close to the ground in where the air is breathable. The smoke is where we would normally be standing and breathing, but in this case it is best to get down low to survive. I look at the polluted world of how people view God the same way. There is so much smoke in the air, the real truth is often difficult to discern, and there is so much smoke that many people fail to even care about the variations as the shapes and forms all blur and swirl together. It all sounds good, whether Buddha, Allah, Jesus or Joseph Smith, and don’t all roads lead to the same place? Don’t they all have something valueable to contribute to peace on earth and goodwill toward men?
Ah, world peace. Another point of discussion for another time, but in short we have yet another definition brought about by world standards, when Jesus alone is the Prince of Peace and can be the only one to provide as such.
In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” Because truth equals truth, but a lie equals non-truth, no matter how close it comes to the real thing, there is only one real thing. Just like a phony Da Vinci which may look like the original, and has even the experts fooled, but there is only one Mona Lisa and she is hanging in the Louvre.
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. –Romans 1:25
Within the endless circles of Christianity itself, there is a lot of smoke in the air, and that is why I stay low to the ground when studying and preaching the Word of God. I teach only what is proven in the Word, what is written and what is teachable by what is written. I have found two greater joys in doing so: first, it frees me from having to suppose something may be 100% true or accurate. If I preach from the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to offer the inspiration to individuals, the Living Word truly is as such, and I am free to preach. Secondly, there are many wonderful “could be” teachings out there, but usually they have little or no impact on issues of salvation. Often they are concepts which are impossible to prove, let alone apply to our lives, so again—why stand in the smoke where it is hard to see and difficult to discern shapes. And most of all, standing in a cloud of smoke for too long is deadly to our spiritual senses.
Coming full circle to where we started, how do we gauge the value of truth? By looking at the Creator; the artist, not the biproduct, assuming that the two ar the same. We are not the judge of man’s eternal destiny, but we do have a responsibility to keeping one another accountable, especially when it comes to representing Christ and the fullness of the gospel—and that only comes by some form of measurement, or “judgment” as we know the truth. This article has a great way of helping to understand this.
In the book of Acts chapter 18 we meet three people, Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos, three Christians. But we see a measure of grace in discernment, wherein some would call it judgment.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Apollos understood the truth in what he understood, and he was not wrong, only missing a piece of the puzzle. His fellow believers stepped in to help correct him in this, and from there the ministry of Apollos was strengthened and he did great works.
The masses of the world today see value in anything they like: health, social media, work, education, etc. That value fluxuates as consensus arrives. It has no relationship to the actual thing or idea. This is that which we must avoid as Christians—allowing people to put a perceived value on God when only the essence of God can speak to that directly. The Creator is the one who puts value in others. Not because of them, but because of Him. Because He is the originator of such value, the original, we could say. True disciples of Christ will not try to create their own brand of Jesus Christ, or their own brand of Christianity. They will walk it and live it as reflective models of the Master Himself.
What difference will it make for me to write this blog, to post a scripture or testimony on Facebook, to pray for my neighbor, to feed the poor who just eat and run back to the booze or drugs, to preach when few seem fired up enough to care? Why bother planning events, holding meetings, or praying when the results don’t meet our expectations? Because if we always expect GOD to be GOD and to do what HE said He would do, everything is worth it and everything makes a difference . . . if done in the form, shape and shadow of the Master Himself.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. –1 Cor 10:31
So My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” –Isaiah 55:11