A BLESSED LIFE: Truthful Humility
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.” – Psalm 40:1
There is one sure-fire way to put yourself in spiritual peril.
That is to rush headlong into something that is a lie. This happens easily and frequently, and it is mostly because most people use other things other than God as their litmus test for what is true. For some, truth is measured by positive and pleasant results. Now to be sure, embracing the truth sometimes brings positive and pleasant results in this life, but not always. What it does do all the time is bring positive and pleasant results in your soul, the habitation of things eternal. But to determine whether something is true by the positive and pleasant results it promises or gives is folly, and those who fall into that trap find themselves entangled with all sorts of lies they can’t get out of. For others, truth is measured by functionality, which leads them to believe that if it works for me, then it must be universally true. Again, functionality is something truth can produce sometimes, but not always, and so functionality by itself is a poor litmus test for what is or isn’t true. For others, emotion is their litmus test for what is true, subjecting truth to the subjective whims of their instincts, feelings, and even conscience, all of which can be flawed from years of cultural and environmental conditioning.
In other words, those who end up following a lie and being ruined by it do not do so because they are stupid or unintelligent. They do it because they are not humble. They are not humble enough to accept that they cannot discern what is true on their own. The personal flaw that leads us to be deceived, to be gullible, to be hoodwinked, to be taken for a ride, to have the wool pulled over our eyes, and to be conned is not a flaw in our intellectual faculties. When a man does something terrible that you cannot believe he would bring himself to do, it is futile to ask, “what were you thinking?”. The problem is not in his thinking. It is in his being. Very often we are in our right minds, are thinking straight, and know exactly what we are doing when we end up being swept up by false things, whether it is a false teaching, or a false romance, or a false income opportunity, or a false story, or fake news. We are not deceived because we are stupid or uneducated, but because we are proud. We are think so highly of our own capacity to see the truth and choose it with no other tools than the limited experiences, opinions, and assumptions we bring to that decision.
And there is only one remedy for this. It is not more information or knowledge. What we need is to stop trusting ourselves and to trust in someone else who is not prone to the same vulnerabilities we have. What we need is to trust God’s view of matters and to take it as gospel truth. And don’t think this is an easy as it sounds. Trusting anyone, especially God, requires humbling yourself enough to call yourself untrustworthy, not just because it is the way you are, but because you’ve examined yourself under God’s light and seen how untrustworthy you are. You’ve seen at last that every time you fell into the lie of bitterness, or the lie of lust, or the lie of greed, or the lie of dishonesty, or the lie of resentment, or the lie of envy, or the lie of adultery, or the lie of laziness, you were living proof that you cannot be trusted to know or choose the truth on your own. You see at last that you would not have fallen into those things unless you had believed the false promises the Devil whispered into your mind of rewards you’d get if you stayed the course compared to what God promised you’d have if you turned from your path. There is no remedy for your gullibility apart from the humbling discipline of trusting God and submitting to his verdict. Everyone who does that is blessed, and they are protected from their own tendency to turn to the proud or to those who go astray after a lie.