I just came back from teaching at Aztec, N.M., First, a delightful and engaging congregation. If I lived in that area, this would be the church I would attend.
I know some of you may want to ask me this question: What do you do when you go speak in a church?
I can answer that question in just two words: “truth” and “trust.” If it weren’t for truth, I would have nothing to say. Each week, I proclaim the truth, which is the written Word of God. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). And that truth is a person, Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Each week, I lay the truth next to people’s lives from both the Word and the person of Jesus Christ. I pray that the truth I share would engage their hearts and lives. Satan uses his lies and deception to try to get us to avoid the truth.
The other day, 3 1/2-year-old Cohen the Goodhearted came walking across the living room of his home, completely naked. Not a stitch of clothing could be found anywhere on his little body. Before anyone could say anything, he announced, “I am not naked; I have on my invisible underwear.” And with that, he walked off.
The truth is, Cohen was naked. But he covered his nakedness with a lie.
Just having or knowing truth is not enough; you have to trust the truth. King Solomon, in all of his wisdom, wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Trust happens when you obey the truth. And “there’s the rub,” as Shakespeare wrote. Many people have an intellectual understanding of the truth but don’t apply it. The apostle James addressed this in his book, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17). One of the favorite lines God has given me recently is this: “The truth is only as deep in you as the trust you have in the One who holds the truth. No trust, no truth.” So each week, I present the truth and then challenge people to trust that truth. Now you know what I do.
As parents, we have the same calling; we are to teach our children truth. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:6-7).
It is not the church’s job to lead your children into truth; it is Mom and Dad’s job. The church reinforces the teachings of the home. We parents do that with our lifestyle and follow up with verbal instruction. Jesus modeled this for us, as Luke tells us in Acts 1:1: “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” Your child will catch the truth when they see you walking it out in front of them.
The same goes for trust. Our children need to see us walk out what trusting God looks like. When my children were elementary-school age, we had just started our mission organization, Awe Star Ministries (now Awe Star Missions). For 25 years, we never asked any person for support. We didn’t send out letters or have fundraising dinners; we just prayed that God would meet our needs.
One day, we needed $1,000. I gathered my sons around the dinner table, and we prayed for God’s provision. After our prayer meeting, our youngest son asked if he could go outside and play. As he opened the door, he saw an envelope attached to the door. He brought it to me, and I saw that it had been sent to the wrong address and returned. The sender apparently decided to bring it right to our home instead. When I opened it, there was a check inside for—you guessed it—$1,000. If I have seen this happen once, I have seen it hundreds of times. And I am thankful God has allowed us to be faithful in the way we handled the money He has given us.
As I pray for my grandsons, I always pray that they will know, understand and trust the truth. I prefer them to be clothed in the truth and not invisible underwear.