Knowing the right reference point is a truth experience.
Recently I joined the White Ribbon Riders nine day motorcycle ride around the South Island of New Zealand.
Motor-bikes have small fuel tanks. So ensuring we have enough petrol to reach the next petrol station is a constant consideration. My bike doesn’t have a fuel gauge, but it does have a three litre reserve. So every time I fill up I reset my trip metre so I can be aware of when I next need to fill up, I regularly get over 230kms from my tank before I engage the reserve. With this in mind join my ride from Fairlie to Cromwell, a distance of 240 km.
As we fill up in Fairlie I check the distance to Cromwell on google maps, and I am confident I will reach Cromwell with over 2 litres of reserve fuel to spare. We break the ride in Omarama, and a couple riders fill up with petrol; I don’t. I’ve made my decision and I strongly believe I have enough petrol to reach Cromwell. Its wet, its been snowing, and soon after coming out of the Lindis Pass my bike stutters I turn to reserve, and my trip metre reads 196km since I last filled up. So I check my reference points. I really feel good about having enough fuel to reach Cromwell. I feel it’s going to be ok. Hopefully you are thinking, Paul you are crazy. The only reference point that matters is how much actual fuel is in the tank. Not my past experience, not my feelings, and not my opinion. Fortunately for me, I reach Cromwell and immediately filled my seventeen litre fuel tank with 200 mls less than 17 litres of fuel, it was close but I made it.
The right reference point enables us to successfully live in reality.
Have you considered your reference point for truth, and therefore for reality? The essence of what it means to be a Christian is seeing Jesus Christ and knowing our Creator according to the Scriptures as our reference point for understanding reality. Knowing who I am is crucial to understanding and negotiating reality.
Therefore the essence of sin is choosing another reference point than our Creator and his words as recorded in Scripture and revealed in Jesus Christ. Three verses that help us see this.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is for ever praised. Amen. Romans 1:25
Everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
A quick reflection of these verses teaches sin as exchanging God as our reference point for something created. We usually do this by making a feeling our ultimate reference point. We make this feeling an idol holding it up against God who created us. We require God to bow to our preference because we feel it so strongly. Sometimes we call these feelings passions and make them religious.
The question I must continually answer is: Who do I serve as Lord? Myself or Jesus Christ. I ask myself this question almost daily as I face new decisions that require me to have a reference point for truth. I haven’t just come to Jesus for relief or an unseen special friend; I’ve come to Jesus for truth and I have discovered love and joy in the truth.
Listen to the sounds of society across New Zealand, you will hear the idol of our feelings lifted high as our ultimate and unquestionable reference point for truth and reality. At times we call this emotional reasoning. At other times we just assume it must be true because we feel it so strongly. It’s incredible to me how in spite off all the evidence against it, this idol is so firmly clung to.
Have you considered your reference point for truth?
Our feelings, our desires, our passions, even our happiness are not true reference points for truth. They don’t work. My feelings don’t work in physics for a reference point, they don’t work in physiology, nutrition and exercise; and they don’t work in psychology and sociology. And they absolutely don’t work as my true reference point in the spiritual realm.
Why do we think we can begin and end our belief of who we are as human with ourselves. Have you noticed how small and insignificant you are in the whole universe? Maybe we should look outside of ourself for a true reference point to know ourself, and how we should live?
Here is a fundamental question.
Am I a material object organised by my DNA that exists for little while and then stops existing?
Am, I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s universe?
Lifting our feelings up as our true reference point for reality fits with believing we are just material objects existing for a few brief moments and then gone forever. Looking to God as our reference point for reality fits with believing we are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s universe. We are created we ‘look’ to our Creator for truth to negotiate reality.
The lie suggests we are the centre of our world, and following our feelings will lead us to a bigger, better more significant experience of life. The truth is following our feelings will lead is into a smaller and less significant life. We will become more and more isolated, more conflicted, more tormented. The overall atmosphere of our person and our relationships with others will be a critical spirit. We will see people as either for us or against us and feel quite free to mock and condemn those we feel are against us. All expressions of love, kindness and mercy will be tightly managed and conditional. We will drift further and further from the freely given mercy and goodness of God. Lifting up feelings as our references point can only lead to lostness from each other, from our self, and from our Creator. Read the signs of the times and ask yourself is it time to submit to God aa our reference point for truth.
Jesus is praying for us
In John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Jesus is praying for his followers to grow in knowing God as their reference point. One fundamental meaning in the word sanctification is to separate. Jesus is praying for his disciples to be separated from the lies of living with feelings as ultimate reference points to the truth of actual reality.
This exercise will helpful to those who want to be sanctified by truth. http://chasingtruth.nz/2018/11/10/my-role-in-jesus-prayer-in-john-1717/
As we live by faith in Jesus Christ and fellowship with the Holy Spirit he will lead us into truth, little by little. We don’t focus on getting it all right, but we focus on following Jesus in the Holy Spirit as truth; and we submit our feelings, experience, and opinions to his word.
If you disagree with me, I can handle that. I used to disagree with me as well and probably will again as God leads me into his truth. I’m not trying to give my opinions, but the picture I see Jesus gives in the Scripture. Add to the discussion in the comments below. I’m praying for you to be sanctified by the truth as you read this.