31 July 2010 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #138, 5934 AM
Attitude is Everything
How Truth is Nullified By It
People often ask me why it is that when they present the truth clearly, reasonably, logically, scripturally, scientifically, and with the greatest care and kindness that it is still rejected. As a result of having the truth rejected they either conclude that they have done something wrong or there is something wrong with their listeners. And they're absolutely correct. However, the problem usually has nothing to do with the truth itself but with the attitude of either the one teaching or the one being taught.
What is an 'attitude'? Your attitude is your disposition, and your disposition is your your temperament or frame of mind. And your temperment is essentially your character, and in our example today, the way you behave toward other people. Many believers fall into the trap of believing that the attitude of the one conveying truth is not nearly as important as the truth itself. They expect, because they are speaking the truth, that the one hearing it is bound to receive it irrespective of the way they present it. Were this the case, then when Satan speaks the truth we should listen and obey it even though it is being communicated by the arch-liar of Creation.
So if you are guilty of some sin that you are in denial over, and Satan comes and tells you to your face (perhaps through another who is not at all interested in your welfare) and exposes it, should you accept it? The answer is No, not because what he has conveyed is not 'true' but simply because he means to use the 'truth' for a devilish end, namely, to destroy you, because there is no such thing as Truth apart from Yahweh.
You will often hear it said that Satan mixes in truth with lies in order to get people to believe the lie. What you have to realise is that when truth is mixed with lies it ceases to be truth in the biblical sense of the word. If I take a glass of pure water and a glass of sewage water and mix them, what is left? Sewage water. The pure water has become contaminated by the sewage water - the sewage water has not become purified. The Truth that sets a man free cannot be presented together with lies or in a wrong attitude otherwise it becomes something else.
In modern English when we speak of 'truth' we usually have the dictionary definition of 'factual' in mind because we see truth as essentially a mental function - a collection of verifiable and verified facts. In its wider but less commonly used sense truth is also seen as being 'genuine' (even though that admits to the possibility of being misguided and therefore in error factually - we can be genuine or honest but wrong) or 'actual' (which is limited by our current knowledge and perception).
The bible word for truth is Emet. I use this word not to show off my knowledge of Hebrew but to make a clear distinction between Biblical Truth and all other claimants to 'truth'. So when I use emet I mean Truth in the sense that Yahweh uses and views it and how He wants us to use and view it.
'Truth' in the sense in which the world uses it is not the same as biblical Emet which is not mere facts (in the total, absolute sense, since only Yahweh has that perspective) but also attitude and content: the attitude must be one of redeeming ahavah (love) (I use ahavah to distinguish biblical agapé or sacrificial love and worldly notions of 'love') and the content must always be IN Christ. If we are not in Christ then we are incapable of speaking Emet even if we may speak factual 'truths':
Have you ever had the experience where you have listened to two ministers teaching the same biblical truths and yet one turns you off, causing you to reject his message, while the other draws you in causing you to accept his message? I have. And I not so long ago was told my a Messianic that he believed the teachings of a particular minister but couldn't stand the man, so he rejected his message. Was he right? Yes, he was, because the Truth that saves is not mere facts - the truth which saves...biblical Emet...can only save if it is is delivered in the power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The minister who was preaching this truth without the Ruach and with a repulsive attitude has turned his followers into slaves - not of Messiah, but of himself! He has used truth facts to make the people dependent on Him rather than Messiah! And that's what can happen if you deliver 'truth' in that way. Remember what Paul said: keeping the commandments, knowing Yah'shua and Emet are one echad whole - to be viewed as one action and one reality: you can't separate them! You can have your head crammed with theological truth, you can know all the factual details of your friend's spiritual condition, but so long as you are not keeping the commandments and are not IN Messiah, you don't have biblical Emet or Truth and cannot minister to anyone!
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him', and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth (emet) is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of Elohim is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him" (1 John 2:3-5, NKJV).
Satan is very knowledgeable and intelligent. He knows a lot facts, far more than you and I, and probably more than all mankind combined. And yet what does Scripture say of him?
Now there are many vital things to understand in this passage. Yah'shua is here talking to the Pharisees, Sadducees and Torah-Teachers (Scribes) who had a tremendous amount of biblical knowledge! Yah'shua is here speaking Emet to them but they are unable to listen to it. It's like there is a soundproof wall between Him and them. Why? It is because they are like Satan who does not STAND in Emet - He is not immersed, baptised or bathed in the truth because he keeps the truth distant from himself. He has a knowledge of the Truth but it is not a part of him in any way. And because it is not a part of him - because he is not living it, walking in it, bathing in it, being nourished by it, and indeed loving it (for in fact he hates it), then, Yah'shua says, "there is no truth in him". It is 'outside' of his being because it is mere intellectual gnosis which as we know cannot save a man - it does not so much as touch he spirit or heart. The truth can only become Emet when it is in you, operating in in such a way that you know Yah'shua because you are communing with Him. And how can you know if you're doing that? Because it leads you to joyfully and spontaneously obey the commandments? And what are they? The Torah of Yahweh and all that has newly been given in the New Covenant.
"Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth (emet), because there is no truth (emet) in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth (emet), you do not believe Me" (John 8:43-45, NKJV).
Yah'shua makes it very clear that a person who speaks facts "from his own resources" - in other words, in his own mind, feelings and psyche, is a liar even if the facts are correct. The only Emet is redemptive truth. That is the Emet that sets souls free. All other forms of 'truth' put them into bondage. Factual words are not Emet but only factual words delivered IN Christ that will draw souls to the Cross and the Ahavah or Love of Yahweh.
You may remember that a demon once used an occultist in the New Testament to testify that Paul was a true apostle:
That demon spoke a correct fact - for Paul was indeed an apostle and indeed taught the true way of salvation, but it was a liar, not speaking Emet. Why? Because it used a correct fact to legitimate its pretended authority and to get attention. It did not speak Emet. When you use correct facts to legitimise yourself instead of Messiah - giving Him all the glory - you are only doing what the devil and his demons have been doing all along. Didn't Yah'shua say that the religious leaders were the servants of the devil even though they preached from the Tanakh? Yes, and we also know that throughout they acted in such a way as to preserve their own position in society and with Rome. Theirs were political motives, not spiritual. They used correct Torah facts, mixed in which their lying human traditions, to maintain their position of power and control. They have one half their battle just to get an audience - if Eve had refused to listen to the serpent in Eden, let alone try to evaluate his truth-claims, she would never have got into trouble. Why go to a polluted and malevolent source when you have a pure and beneficient One?
"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, 'These men are the servants of the Most High Elohim, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.' And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour" (Acts 16:16-18, NKJV).
The enemy is devious and subtle - make no mistake. He will announce true facts but never speak in Emet and never lead anyone to salvation. Be careful of those who claim only to be 'factual' for they may often be doing the devil's bidding. They will seek to knock down rather than build up and they never bring biblical chayyim or life.
Now I have mostly spoken today thus far on the attitude of those who seek to teach truth but equally the attitude of the listener is just as important. Yah'shua was the incarnation of All Truth - He was and is Emet (Jn.14:6). Not a single false word fell from His lips ever. Not a wrong attitude ever characterised His heart. There was no fault in Him because He was, and is, the embodiment or incarnation of all Emet. And yet the religious leaders not only refused to receive it but sought ways to get rid of Him, indeed succeeding in murdering Him in the end. They employed false witnesses to trap Him, engaging in Lashon Hara. And yes, they mixed 'truth' with lies. Though they taught the Tanakh or Old Testament, they had a poor understanding of it and were blind to its prophetic content. So, even if you do speak in genuine Emet, standing in it, communing with Yah'shua, being directed by the Ruach (Spirit) and walking the commandments, there is no guarantee that your message will be received, but it will be received by those who want to know the Truth whereas it will likely be rejected by them if your spiritual attitude is wrong.
Out attitude is like a door which is either open or closed. If you don't want to hear Emet then I guaratee you won't. If the door is closed, and your spiritual ears are closed, then even though you may hear spoken words in your brain, your spirit and heart will not receive them. Then when you are challenged by Emet, you will make every excuse under the sun.
One minister relates how he was once preaching about the scriptural teaching on giving but his congregation did not want to hear his message. Over the days that followed he overheard some of the conversations of his parishioners and these were some of the things he heard them say to one another:
As he got to thinking and praying about what he heard, asking Yahweh to give him an insight into their hearts, so he heard what they really were saying inside but never on their lips:
- "I get so tired of hearing sermons on giving!"
- "Can't the preacher talk about anything but money?"
- "Oh, he just gives to be seen of men!"
These true intentions the Ruach revealed to him, showing that what they were saying to one another were lies because of a wrong heart-attutude. From this he rightly concluded that attitude is as important as truth because truth is never understood with the wrong attitude.
- "I am too selfish to give generously"
- "I am too extravagant with my money to be able to give generously"
- "I spend too much money foolishly to be able to give generously"
He was then reminded of the rich young ruler who wanted to go to heaven who had lived an upright, moral life - a man who even wanted to follow Yah'shua! He really believed he was ready to be a talmid or disciple in every respect, never dreaming there was a hindrance to him receiving Emet. Do you remember what that rich young ruler did? Though an upright and moral man who loved Yahweh and wanted to follow Yah'shua, he walked away! Why? Because he had a wrong attitude toward money. His wealth was a spiritual hindrance to him and had blinded him. This one stumbling block caused Him to reject Yah'shua and life everlasting - just one thing! Yah'shua knew what the problem was exactly and also the solution - get rid of the stumbling block, get rid of his money! You see, he loved his money more than Yahweh just as you and I quite possibly may still love some things or attitudes (like being in control) more than the Most High. And Yah'shua said that if we have this kind of attituide that we will lose our soul even if we are ministers!
It has been rightly said that 'temptation commonly comes through that for which we are naturally fitted'. If a man is fitted to handle money, the temptation comes to regard money as the most important thing in the world. That was Judas' weakness (Jn.12:3-6). He became so fond of money that he became a thief, And when he saw a woman anointing Yah'shua's feet with costly ointment - an act that Yah'shua saw as one of surpassing love - he saw it as a waste. His attitude blinded him to what was going on.
Let me give you another example. If we like a person we seldom see his faults but if we do not like an individual his faults increase. So when I hear people protesting about something that is good I immediately wonder about their attutude. Ananias and Sapphira illustrate well a wrong attitude for you know they tried to cheat Yahweh (Ac.5:1-2). Everyone who like them leaves the impression that they are giving as Yahweh has prospered them and then refuses to give liberally is just as guilty as Ananias and Saphira. We often fail to make the connection between lying and giving (Mal.3:8). What a contrast between them and Barnabas (Ac.4:36-37) and the poor widow (Mk.12:41-44) or indeed David (2 Sam.24:24).
Now I don't want to get into a sermon on money today - that is not my point - I just wanted to use it as an illustration about attitude.
So what temptation are you the most naturally fitted for? What is it you hide behind? Many fancy themselves as preachers and teachers these days - and I don't just mean ministers in the pulpit, whether a church pulpit or (more commonly) a cyber pulpit...people have an attitude to teach and preach at one another when they are not walking in Emet because it gives them a sense of power and control. And I don't mean just men but women who walk out of tavnith or pattern themselves. It doesn't matter how many correct facts they have because if they are not walking or moving in Emet - if they are not obeying the commandments and not walking in divine tavnith or pattern - if they are not communing with Yah'shua and being directed by the Ruach - then no matter how many 'facts' or Scriptures they may be employing, their attitude is wholly wrong by default and they are not walking in Emet or Truth but in the lies of their father Satan. Let us have the attitude of David who prayed:
Walk in the Emet of Yah'shua. And have a blessed shabbat!
"But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Yahweh, in the acceptable time; O Elohim, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth (emet) of Your salvation (yeshua = Yah'shua = Jesus)" (Ps.69:13, NKJV).