“Sanctify them by your truth. Your Word is truth.” John 17:17

Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather Truth spelled with a capital “T.” Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality- and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth.  Francis Schaeffer

Troubled times cry out for tested truth. When faith in our foundations falter and the wisdom of the world wilts, where do we go for counsel? What authority can discern- what is true from what is false, what protects from what destroys, what works from what fails and what is right from what is wrong? We are living in a day of great confusion. Every hour we see a line of experts pass across our TV sets giving their take on what is wrong and how to correct it, but no one really knows. Fear is building as our system shakes. Where do we go for counsel that will not fail us?  

In anxious times, many will place their confidence in professional therapists. That is understandable because the field presents itself as a scientific discipline with direct ties to the medical world. They are the “experts” of the soul. Most are devoted to helping to heal the hurts of their clients. However, social sciences, like psychology and psychiatry, are rightly called “soft sciences.” They are “sciences,” because they attempt to adapt the same methodologies as the “hard sciences” of chemistry and biology. They form hypothesis, perform tests, make observations, seek empirical evidence and attempt to make logical conclusions based upon the evidence they have accumulated. They are called “soft” because the object of their study, the soul, does not readily yield itself to “hard” and unquestioned “truth.” That is why Dr. Leonard Poom of the University of Georgia wrote, “’Therefore, we may conclude’ does not apply in the social sciences. We can only say ‘it seems to be true.”

A few years ago I read a book by psychology professors from a leading evangelical university. It was intended to defend the practice of integrating psychology with theology. But in the reading, I found that very few of their arguments appealed to hard, cold facts. Instead, it was filled with phrases like, “evidence seems to indicate,” “tests seem to suggest,” or “a majority of experts conclude.” The lack of empirical certainty in their writing was striking. The book demonstrated the reason there is so much diversity and conflict within the the psychological model. Its conclusions are driven by theory rather than truth.  
That does not mean that therapists cannot help people get through troubled times. They can. But, the counsel that is given does not come from a uniform and systematic discipline of truth. That is why you will find diversity among the counselors in their concepts of who man is, what constitutes truth, what is the source of problems, what is the most effective means of therapy, or even, what “healthy” looks like.         

When you go to the Bible for counsel, you find something altogether different. The Bible is ultimate truth. It is inspired by a God who knows everything about anything, so it has no mistakes. Its Author is righteous and incapable of sin, so it does not lie [1 Samuel 15:29]. God’s Word is the most powerful force in the universe, [Isaiah 55:11], so it cannot fail. It is given to enable a  people who are productive in all circumstances [Psalm 1:3], so it contains everything we need for “life and godliness.” [2 Peter 1:3] The God who never changes wrote it, so we know its principles will not change with some new discovery [James 1:17]. God’s Word “is eternal and stands firm in the heavens” [Ps 119:89], so, it remains truth, even when it conflicts with our concepts, our consciences, or our counselors. It is living word and cuts through the layers of excuses and self-deception we have accumulated, so that it exposes the thoughts and motives of our hearts. [Hebrews 4:11-12] Above all else, it sets us before the One who knows us perfectly [Psalm 139:1-3], so he gives us exactly what we need. And, His truth always set us free [John 8:31-32], so we can go to the Bible and find direction for God-pleasing, soul-satisfying, heart-fortifying, never-failing counsel.  
How does that truth help us when the banking is tanking and our leaders are losers? The Word of God has authority. It is God’s truth. It stands firm above our personal problems and beyond the calamities of our culture. It is also personal and practical. It meets us where we are. It is tailored for our joy. In Ephesians, Paul is addressing real people who are engaged in real struggles. The recipients of his letter may be “seated with him [Christ] in heavenly realms,” but their feet are still planted firmly on the ground where they are to “live a life worthy of the calling they have received.” [Ephesians 4:1]   

The first piece of armor Paul describes is the belt of truth [6:14], because it is the equipment that holds everything together. Our faith and our fight are based upon historical and objective truth. Jesus lived a perfect life, died on a cross for our sins, was resurrected on the third day, and was seen by witnesses at a particular time and in a particular place in history. That truth, preached by the apostles and passed down to us in the Word, is the solid foundation upon which we base our faith and our fight.

The battle is won as we wield the Word of God. If you take a close look at this passage, you will see all the pieces of armor that Paul lays out for us are objective truths. The breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the helmet of hope, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, are our possessions, supplied to us through the climatic victory of God’s Son. That is why we can “be joyful always.” [2 Thes. 5:16] The enemy’s strategy is to bring pressure upon us that tempts us to question the reality of God’s truth. Then, he can rob us of our joy in Jesus. 

So, when we find that our joy in Jesus is wavering, it is time to fight. F. B. Maltby said it like this, “Jesus promised his disciples three things: They would be absurdly happy, completely fearless, and in constant trouble.” It is God’s truth, won for us on the cross of Christ, revealed to us by his written Word, made alive in us by His Spirit, applied to our problems by prayer, that enables us to be happy and fearless in the midst of troubles.

That is why we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. If we don’t, we will probably be taken prisoners of war. God’s truth must dominate our thoughts. Feelings and experiences will lie to us. Well meaning counselors will still get it wrong. Only truth, anchored in the Rock of Ages, will enable us to fight and win great victories for the glory of our Commander in Chief. It is God’s truth not man’s theories that will beat back the enemy when we are hunkered down in the trenches of conflict. The enemy cares little about “what a majority of experts concluded,” but he trembles at God’s Word. Triumph in the trenches is triggered when we treasure God’s truth!

Sometime in the past, the great and precious promises of the Lord were quarantined and separated from the care and cure of the soul. Theories and therapies of godless men, subtly but surely invaded the life of the church. Pastors were told they were not competent to counsel. Struggling believers were “referred” to the experts whose “scientific secrets” would bring enlightenment to the soul. But, can we honestly say that thirty years of going down that trail has produced an army of happy and fearless fighters of faith? Sure, we have learned how to “cope,” but have we learned how to hope? Yes, we have learned that “meds” can help us feel better, but can they help us fight better? I think the obvious answer to both questions is “No!”        

What am I suggesting? It will seem radical. Others will call it simplistic. Still others will call it dangerous. But, I call it faith, an unflinching faith in Jesus Christ and the power of his written Word. When we are being assailed by fiery arrows of the enemy, we can still go to the armory of faith. There we will find the Living Lord ready to equip us with mercy and grace in our time of need. There we can find the weapon of truth that is specifically designed to combat the enemy’s lie in our lives. No matter how dark the circumstances look, we can put our hope in God. We need not fear any circumstance. Jesus will counsel and strengthen us with his unchanging truth. In time, by God’s grace, he will deliver us and we will honor Him. [Psalm 50:15]