Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Real or Fake?"

Just a few months back North Korea reconfirmed the discovery of an ancient unicorn lair. Of course, those of us outside of North Korea - and probably some of those inside - are highly skeptical of this claim. Unfortunately, I've never seen one of these majestic creatures - and I doubt I ever will - so I'm quick to side with the skeptics. But take your imagination for a spin and place yourself in the shoes of a North Korean citizen.

You've been born and raised within the strictly confined territory and have been raised to know nothing but loyalty to your beloved leaders; in this case, Kim Jong-un. All of your life you've had no contact with the outside world and only know of those outside of your home territory by the propaganda the government has fed to the public. Your family has relayed their love for the revered leader to you for as long as you can remember and they are absolutely ecstatic to hear news of another unworldly discovery attributed to the leader's family line. You remember them speaking of some of the previous leader's achievements - 11 hole in ones, a birth foretold by a swallow and heralded by a brilliant star - and you chalk this up on the list of accolades. You buy into every word.

Then you happen to cross paths with a journalist from outside of the country's district. You agree to an interview in which she reveals the truth about the surrounding world. How the neighboring countries aren't the villains they've been made out to be and she accuses the leaders of North Korea of manipulating their citizens into believing propaganda that isn't only false but completely preposterous to the outside world. She leaves you with a choice, believe her word and follow her out of the country - risking death - or continue to life the life which she claims to be filled with lies.

Imagine how outlandish it would be to hear an outside describe these things. How difficult would it be to believe her? What if this is also true of us?

Most of us, who are fortunate enough to live outside of North Korea, would think "of course the journalist is telling the truth," but that's because we've seen it from the outside. What about when Jesus came into the world? Did the angels find it preposterous to believe his claims when the rest of the world scoffed at him? I doubt it. But it was still too much for the world - separated from the realms of heaven - to believe. How foolish did they look to all of the heavenly hosts? What about to all of the demons who also know the truth (James 2:19)?

Jesus didn't only come into the world to tell us the truth himself, but he left writings and prophecies in his scriptures to help us discern what is real and what is fake. And not only that, but his death allowed for God to send The Helper - the Holy Spirit - in determining what he left for us to interpret. This means that the same God that told his prophets and scribes what to write is working inside of us now to interpret it. That's like having Shakespeare himself help you work through what a certain passage in (italics - Hamlet) means.

If this is true, then how essential is it to cling to the truth of his word? To make reference to one of my favorite pop book series, In Suzanne Collins (italics - The Hunger Games), Peeta and Katniss play a game that allows Katniss to remind Peeta of what was really true after his mind had been completely corrupted and turned against her by the Capitol. When he stumbled across something he wasn't quite sure about he would turn to Katniss and ask "real or fake?" (Citation). How often do you turn to the Spirit to ask the same question? What should I really believe? How often do you use your Bible to filter out the truth?

If the Bible's claims about Christ are true then it is nothing short of revolutionary. If God is God then serve Him, but if ______ is, then follow it. (1 Kings 18:21)! Take him up on this. Ask him yourself: "God, Jesus Christ. Real or fake?" The truth can uphold itself.