Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
When I first read this quote, it gripped me immediately. Our relativistic postmodern culture scorns the notion of truth, and condemns anyone who holds absolute values of right and wrong as intolerant. Only someone with a deep, God-given hunger for truth is willing to face that kind of rejection. Surprisingly, the words of wisdom quoted above were written in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662), a French mathematician, physicist and philosopher.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV) says this about those who will be deceived by Satan in the last days before Christ returns: “…They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” If I love wickedness I will be deceived and face the judgment of God; but if I love the truth I will be saved. God’s word is truth (John 17:17), and Jesus is the truth (John 14:6); may we all grow to love them more!
One of my favorite classic Christian quotes is by A. W. Tozer in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy. It’s the opening sentence from the first chapter (“Why We Must Think Rightly About God”), and it sets the tone for the book. I think it also makes an appropriate beginning for this new series of devotionals.
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
Tozer goes on to say this:
Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.
As Psalm 115:8 says of idols, “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” Good or bad, my view of God changes who I am. What a powerful motivation to make sure I think rightly about God!
This is what the LORD says:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.
– Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV)
I’ve been journeying into the world of classic Christian literature lately. I’ve had a hunger for a feeling of connectedness with the church through the ages, and for gleaning from the wisdom of the saints from many lands and traditions. The church universal is one body, a body that includes not only of believers on earth right now, but all believers throughout all of history. Our common bond in Christ connects us all. It connects me with church fathers like Augustine, reformers like Luther, and revivalists like Moody, and I want to learn from them. They have walked this path before me, and even though our circumstances are very different, they still have a lot to teach me.
To be honest, I’m just at the beginning of this journey. So far I’ve collected most of the excerpts from devotional collections and quotes in contemporary Christian books; I hope to “graduate” eventually to some of the original sources. But even at the beginning, I’m discovering treasures worth sharing, so I decided to journal my thoughts in a blog to do just that. I’ve already collected excerpts from men like A. W. Tozer, Martin Luther, Anselm of Canterbury, John Donne, Ambrose of Milan, Blaise Pascal, and Augustine of Hippo. as well as from old hymns and ancient liturgy. Topics include faith, truth, worship, repentance, Christ’s death and the Trinity. I hope these posts will encourage you as preparing for them has encouraged me!