The Light of Truth
When Bilbo Baggins finds Gollum’s ring, in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, something begins to happen to him. Do you remember? Rather than possessing the ring, the ring seems to possess him – it begins to change something central to his character as it had done to its previous owner, Gollum. It has to do with light and truth. When worn, the ring enables Bilbo to become invisible, which helps him escape from several dangers, to be sure. But invisibility is immunity from light’s effects, for better or worse; Bilbo finds himself lying to cover up others’ knowledge of this possession. He becomes a victim of the ring’s corrupting influence, just as Gollum had been.
While Tolkien’s world of The Hobbit is fictional, we relate to it because our world spins on the same axis; the central pivot of our lives regards our relationship to truth or to its enemy, deception. The choices we make to apprehend deception or truth will eventually apprehend us. Listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (II Corinthians 4:4,2).
We’re hearing ‘us’ and ‘them’ language, but we’re all part of this cosmic struggle between light and dark, truth and lies. We’ve all known the power of deception in our lives – we’ve been hurt by it when others have used it against us, and we have done the same to them. We’ve discounted the image of God in Christ, distorted the Word of God for our own purposes, and been caught up in the tangled web the practice of deception produces. Is this the truth or not?
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, as we’ve been terming God’s kingdom influence, is a ministry of truth. It calls us to take action by making a choice. We must renounce deception; we must toss away the ring of lies that has possessed us, and peel off the spidery web of deceit that has held us captive. It begins with the choice to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord — the central Truth of reality.
The complexity of deception beginning with a ‘will not see’ attitude toward Christ becomes a ‘can not see’ limitation. No one is born an atheist – rather it is the culmination of many small choices to slip on the ring that lures us with its advantages. Our souls turn Gollum-like pale and our eyes become unable to endure the searing nature of light.
The simplicity of truth begins with a ‘will to see’ desire which transforms into a ‘can see God in Christ’ capacity. Gone is the shame. Removed is the distortion of God’s Word in our lives. Instead, we open ourselves to the truth, plain and simple, and are able to see that Christ alone is truly God. Our hearts begin to glow with the precious knowledge of Christ as we give ourselves over to truth.
The ministry of God’s Spirit in our lives expands with every step we take into it. It begins with the aroma of Christ, moves into our hearts, replaces law with covenant, and now frees us from the bondage of deception.
“ O Truthful Father, Son and Spirit, come into our hearts and minds and relieve us of this burden of deception into which we have fallen. Replace it with your truth and light. Change the core of our being so we can become the people you desire us to be. Amen.”
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)