Who Do You Trust?

We live in the “information age”. Way back in 1948, the American mathematician Claude E. Shannon, known as the “father of Information Theory” published a landmark paper proposing that information can be quantitatively encoded as a series of ones and zeroes. Shannon showed how all information media, from telephone signals to radio waves to television, could be transmitted without error using this single framework. And the rest, as they say, is history.

That simple proposition has evolved and been driven by the philosophy that access to information is the key to personal freedom by bringing enlightenment to the masses.

Yet, some might argue that just the opposite has occurred and in fact, instead of freedom, we have become enslaved to an overwhelming amount of data, facts, opinions, and outright lies designed not to free but to control us. Social media has rewired our brains to believe our opinions and ideas create personal value. The more fiends and likes we generate reinforces the idea that what we have to say matters, and so on and on we go adding to those series of ones and zeroes an endless supply of “expert” advice based on subjective experience, and a lot of pictures of kittens and puppies being kittens and puppies.

Christians are not immune to this overabundance of information and opinion. The Guttenberg Press made the bible available to the almost everyone when the Roman Catholic church forbade its reading or possession by anyone other than clergy or the elite. The internet has made the personal interpretations (good, bad, or heretical) of those scriptures also available to anyone. Which has made it easier and easier to custom tailor the application of scripture to match almost any world view.

For example. Recently I’ve heard that swearing, or foul language that falls short of the down right cursing of God himself, is not prohibited by scripture and consequently does not count as sin. On the other hand, I’ve heard that even the substitution of some words in favor of others like “dang” for “damn” are in fact just as sinful as some of the other foul words that we experience daily in this fallen world.

How can we read scriptures like Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,” 5:4 “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving,” or Colossians 3:8 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth,” and come to the conclusion that scripture is silent on the issue of our words?

For me, it comes down to – who do we trust? Please note, I’m not saying “what” do we trust, but “who” do we trust?

It is our nature to trust first and foremost in ourselves. Since the beginning, we have sought to make ourselves equal with God or even to usurp his role in our lives. So we seek to justify our actions by putting our spin on scripture.

“The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.”

Alistair Begg

But, the bible is not just another book. The bible is the very voice of God. His words. His primary way of speaking to us today. God, a loving creator and father does not seek to confuse or hide his truth from his children. Alistair Begg says, “The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” The Gospel is both the plain and the main thing.

When we seek to apply our own wisdom in the exegesis of scripture we are seeking to stand in the place of God himself. We are seeking to become the little God’s we have always desired to be and are on the same path as Adam and Eve in the garden. Spoiler alert… it doesn’t end well.

The apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians said:

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

1 Cor 2:1 -5

Paul was not applying his wisdom as a Pharisee of Pharisee’s, a teacher of religion, which was in fact considerable, but instead it was by the Spirit, the power of God, the “wisdom of God” (verse 7).

The old testament prophet Jeremiah answers the question – who do you trust, better than I ever could:

Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

Jeremiah 17:5-10 NASB

As we seek to navigate our way in this “Information Age” it’s not about what you trust, it’s about who you trust. Not the author of the latest Christian Book, podcast, or sermon, but the author and finisher of our faith…Jesus.