The Authority We Want and Need

Attending college in Columbus, Ohio, I introduced a friend to the joy of skating at the OSU ice rink across town. She quickly grew in fondness and ability for this winter pastime, and decided to buy her own skates. While fitting her, the rink worker noticed she was wearing two pairs of socks. “You’ll only want one pair of socks for skating” he told her, at which point I interrupted and said, “No, she’ll need two.” We went back and forth a couple of times, so I pulled out my ace: “I grew up in northern Michigan and played four years of hockey in high school, and I’m telling you, she’ll need to wear two pairs of socks.” To which he replied, “I grew up in Ontario and played five years for the Boston Bruins; she will only want to wear one pair.” With a keen recognition of authority, I humbly conceded.

God’s Word is authority for life. His commands, wrote Paul, are “the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,”1 and we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”2 Yet our sinful nature is prone to challenge His Word—and thereby, His authority—rebelliously subjecting His truth to our flawed judgments and twisting it to appease our self-centered desires. This is not new, for through Jeremiah God declared of ancient Israel, “every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God.”3 Nor are we immune from it now or in the future, for as Paul warned Timothy, “the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”4

Then amid the escalating cacophony around us, how do we discern and flourish under the voice of authority? First, recognize that truth exists—“[God’s] word is truth”5—and that He who reigns in authority loves us, for “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”6 Then in such confidence we, like David, walk today with this assurance firmly placed in God: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”7 God’s Word is authority; we humbly concede. He speaks it in love; we gladly submit.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”8 Light our path today in the truth of your Word. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 2:20 NASB
2 Deuteronomy 8:3
3 Jeremiah 23:36
4 2 Timothy 4:3-4
5 John 17:17
6 Proverbs 30:5
7 Psalm 119:105 KJV
8 John 6:68


It’s Personal

He was a sharp, young man—a “millennial,” by chronology, and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. So, I was eager to hear his thoughts on his contemporaries’ openness to the gospel. “With my generation,” he said, “you cannot begin with truth. We value beauty, love, and community, so you have to start there. Ultimately, everyone will have to deal with truth, of course, but you cannot lead into the conversation with it.” While the message was disappointing in a way, his insight provided helpful guidance for one wanting to connect with people raised in a postmodern age.

Like it or not, we live in an era that is, in part, defined by a deep mistrust of truth. We’ve been taught that truth doesn’t exist at all or that it is elusive and largely unknowable, difficult to ascertain at best. Constrained by skepticism, we find ourselves with little more than personal experience to define reality, and “truth” becomes arbitrary, ours to define by fickle feelings as unique as the shifting shadows we cast.

But even cloudy thinking cannot block out “the Father of heavenly lights,” for His truth still breaks through the fogs of uncertainty and illumines even the soul of the skeptic. And if there is a silver lining to the prevailing worldview of doubt, it might be this—people who do search today for what is real do so more cautiously, and when we discover the One who is “faithful and true,”1 we are willing to pay a greater cultural cost to accept Him.

What do we find, then, when we step into the invisible kingdom of God through the unseen doors of faith? Beauty is personal; it has an Artist. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”2 Love is personal; it has an Origin. “God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”3 Community is personal; it has a Home. “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”4

Greater even than the beauty we behold, the love we savor, and the community we embrace is the God in whom they exist, whose image they portray. Regardless of era, irrespective of age, we can trust him, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”5

Lord, lead us out of doubt and distrust, that we might rest in the reality of Jesus, who loves us with an everlasting love. Amen.

“Every good and perfect gift is from heaven above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created. (James 1:17, 18)”

1 Revelation 19:11
2 Isaiah 6:3
3 1 John 4:8b, 9
4 Romans 12:5
5 Psalm 110:5