One of the greatest problems in our rapidly changing world is finding the truth due to government coverups, Big Tech censorship, and the erosion of biblical principles.
Fake News is becoming the norm.
Starting with virtuous hearts, we must personally turn our attention to the mind. 2 Peter 1:5 tells us:
“And to your virtue, add knowledge.”
How do we find truthful knowledge in a era of deception?
Truthful Knowledge in an Era of Deception
Virtue first, knowledge second. Notice the order. That’s the way God designed it. Every school and university should be established on this principle. Separating virtuous character from the pursuit of knowledge can really mess up a life. Knowledge can become a curse instead of a blessing if it’s not used virtuously.
Both German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and King Solomon commanded great knowledge. But Nietzsche lived immorally and died young of syphilis. Solomon lusted after 300 wives and became depressed (Ecclesiastes).
Knowledge is the second pillar of godly character. Let’s first talk about how God brings knowledge into our lives. The Bible calls it “being strong in spirit” (Luke 1:80).
The human mind is the instrument God uses to disclose the wonders of His being and creation. It’s like a radio receiver tuned in to receive transmissions from God.
If our mind isn’t working right–like a radio receiver with severed or frayed wires–then our “reception” will be poor regardless of how hard God tries to reach us. The human mind works like a muscle. It maintains its health through exercise. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes. If we neglect it, like a muscle, it will weaken or atrophy.
There are three practical ways we can strengthen our minds.
Be a Thinker
We need to use our minds. Many people don’t like that idea. We’ve grown so used to living by our feelings that critical, reasoned thought sounds like work. “Tell me what to do, but don’t ask me to think,” has become a common cry.
Modern people, through rejecting God, have become like Solomon. Thinking makes us sad (Ecclesiastes 1:17) because we’re lost and confused. We’ve sidetracked the incredible mind that God gave us and allowed the engine of our emotions to pull the train.
Paul mentions the importance of a strong and thoughtful mind in Romans 12:2 where he says:
Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Emphasis mine.)
We can develop clear and forceful minds by 1) Asking questions as we read God’s Word,
2) Contemplating and pondering the issues of our day, 3) Talking and reasoning with God and His people, 4) Diligently studying and looking for answers, 5) Maintaining curiosity and inquisitiveness, and 6) Always asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7).
Be a Reader
I remember a book called Why Johnny Can’t Read. It described the 150-year decline of reading skills in the United States and the dramatic results of illiteracy.
The problem was that very few people read it.
Reading is vital to learning. It has no equal as a communicator. It focuses attention, reveals ideas clearly (in black and white), allows time for meditation (you control the speed), encourages logical thinking, and even teaches spelling and grammar.
God’s primary method of transmitting information to man has been through the written word–the Bible. That shows the high value He places on reading.
The devil knows this. He uses illiteracy for his own purposes. If people are unable read, they can’t read the Bible. He also knows that if he can discourage those who don’t read by keeping them from enjoying it. He can keep them away from the knowledge of God.
What made Ezra a great leader in Israel?
Ezra was a teacher, knew well the Teachings of Moses that had been given by the Lord. He worked hard to know and obey the Teachings of the Lord and to teach his rules and commands (Ezra 7:6,10).
What was one of the secrets of Timothy’s walk with God?
You should continue following the teachings you learned…Since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:14,15).
All great leaders are readers. It’s true in history and is especially true today in the age of rapidly changing information that you must read to lead. This starts with our commitment to the best book of all–the Bible.
A few years ago, I realized that I was not growing in certain areas of my life because I was not taking time to read. Work, pleasure, television, and other distractions crowded in. I decided to start reading again and came up with three new concepts. First, to meditate and digest the material I read. Second, to master a few books rather than to scan many. And finally, to read the best books available related to my gifts and calling.
Be a Writer
We now turn to the third area that is vital to gaining knowledge. Francis Bacon once said:
Reading makes a full man; speaking, a ready man; writing, an exact man.
Writing has been the main form of passing information from one generation to another. How grateful we should be that the writers of the Bible valued the written form.
Writing is an important discipline and an invaluable tool to gain understanding. If you don’t enjoy writing, you might try to develop the skill by taking notes wherever you go, especially when you’re in a setting where God’s truth is being shared.
Then rewrite your notes. I learned this from a biology teacher when I was a freshman in college. He told his students he guaranteed them a good grade if they would simply rewrite their notes. That forces you to organize and remember what you’ve heard.
A final aspect of writing with many benefits is keeping a spiritual diary or journal on a regular basis. I’ve been keeping one for over fifty years. It helps me to see how God is working in my life right now. It reminds me of guidance or direction He has given me in the past. It allows me to recall His miracles and faithfulness. And it will provide a lasting testimony to my friends and family.
But besides the Bible, how do we go about finding truthful sources of knowledge?
Here are some basic tips.
Pick your newscasts carefully. My favorite is “The No Spin News.” A reasonable annual subscription is required. Stay away from the junk on social media. Choose podcasts of reputable people and seek answers for the issues of the day from Internet sources you trust. Some of my favorites: The Daily Signal, Family Research Council, Intercessors for America, and the Heritage Foundation.
A good digest of world news can be found at dailychatter.com.
The Bible likens wisdom and knowledge to a precious treasure, to be sought after and guarded at all costs (Proverbs 3:13-26). Be a thinker, be a reader, and be a writer to exercise your mind daily while choosing your sources of information wisely.
With a virtuous heart and a knowledgeable mind, we become strong to survive difficulties and thrive in our lives, families and callings in our brave new world.
[A great way to grow in knowledge next month is to join YWAM’s Thirty Days of Vision and Purpose. Check it out here.]