In her final First John post, Brianna Hines reminds us of the gift of true friends, the ones who remind us of the truth, even when we are content with the lies of the enemy. And she encourages us to be the type of friend to others who courageously speak what is true.
Here we are, diving into another Bible study. It seems to me like the last two years have been a blur. Change after change has rattled my routine and our church. We have had to be flexible, think on our feet, and hold loosely the things we always thought would be stable. All of the balancing and readjusting has been exhausting for me, and I would imagine for you, too. It takes a lot of energy to weather disappointment, plans that change once, twice, seven times, and so many unmet expectations. It can leave us feeling shaken, and not just frazzled, but shaken like a soda can bouncing around a pickup bed going 60 down a gravel road! I can’t take much more of this. One more change and I am fit to burst and spray debris all over the nearest unfortunate victim. I have realized that I am desperately craving a patch of solid ground.
We could easily call this season that we’re living in the Time of Great Mistrust. Information dissemination is fraught with falsehoods. Some of it is intentional and some purely because we live in a sin-scarred world where even once-trusted sources can innocently mislead us. Political and religious leaders make poor choices they then attempt to cover up, and when their sin is exposed, we feel violated for placing our confidence in them. As a result, we begin to doubt all the leaders in our lives. We can’t even go to the grocery store without someone looking sideways at us — or us at them. While we might feel that trustworthiness is at an all-time decline, the truth is “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That’s why God needed to put the ninth commandment on the Tablets of Testimony and why the psalmist David reminds us that the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
This week we are in Exodus 20:16 as we look at the importance of a truthful testimony. While we find many verses throughout the Bible admonishing us to not lie, especially in Proverbs, this verse from Exodus is a specific command against speaking mistruths about the people in our lives. Let's jump right into reviewing the Ten Commandments and then ponder how we speak about other people.
Last week in our Ponder and Pray feature, we looked at the first of three chapters of Jesus’ Last Supper Discourse in which Jesus declared that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and then promised the Holy Spirit, a helping spirit of peace to guide them — and believers today — through life. Today we’ll find another I AM statement in chapter 15 and more comfort about how the Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth, will guide us through the harsh reality that the world hates us because we follow Jesus.