I’m Most Easily Fooled by Myself
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
There was a time when I’d have questioned the faith of anyone struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. I knew that 1 John 3:6 said, No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. I did – and still do – believe in the Bible and so, when it said that those who continue in sin can’t know God, I felt it was safe to say that person wasn’t even a Christian.
It’s a tough passage, but over time I’ve amended my view of it. The change has come largely due to my experience with my own addiction. I now know that most people – including Christians like Paul (Romans 7:15) – have struggled with some addictive behavior that we would refer to as sin. I now see the passage as a warning that a life of following self is completely incompatible with a life of following God. The passage has remained true, but my understanding of it has changed as God has changed me.
Two days ago, I wrote about how we must guard against being led astray by the world. Today’s passage says much the same thing, but over the last day I’ve been thinking more about how I must guard against my own misconceptions of truth. I’m not saying the Bible is sometimes wrong. I’m saying I can get it wrong.
I don’t mean to suggest that we cannot know anything. There are truths in the Bible that I’d stake my career, family, and life upon. I will insist however, that if the only truth I knew was the truth I knew at age 18, I’d be in trouble. Over time, God has shaped my understanding of his word and he will continue to do so.
We can know truth, but we must also be careful in how we handle it. A little humility and teachability go a long way. In today’s passage, Paul said we must guard ourselves so that we may not be led astray. The truth is, we can be fooled most easily by our own false misconceptions. The solution is to filter everything through Christ. We must continually look to his life, asking what he would think, say, and do. We must allow him to transform us and shape our understanding of his teachings. We can know truth, but we can also be wrong and so, we must continually look to Christ, allowing him to transform us in his image.