The Straightest Path
If we are truly in pursuit of the truth we are obligated to have our minds constantly disposed to entertain and receive truth wherever we may meet it. Such a disposition expedites the discovery of valuable insights quickly, which is of vital importance when we have so little time on this earth to discover it. The extent of things knowable is so vast and our duration here so short that we must be careful regarding that which is not practical to the improvement of our lives in the here and now and our understanding of what may come after this life. Since there is so much to know and apply in such a very short time it would be the best application of our time and talent to take the straightest and most direct road to the truth that we can.
Every situation, setting and person has something to teach us regarding the truth. Such opportunities will come incidentally but afford quick studies of how things operate and what people think about them. People have many ideas about how the world operates and where it is headed, but the common ground that is shared with almost everyone is a desire to know the fullest measure of the truth possible. To avoid an unwise expenditure of time by focusing on opinions alone, an objective standard by which to measure a proposition for its usefulness is needed.
The Bible describes Christ as Someone that attempted to get people to think about what He proposed. He encountered real people, living in real situations and offered them a different way of looking at their lives. He proposed practical solutions that were readily employable in very real and often dire circumstances. He knew that what people needed was a more efficient and effective way to think. By His lifestyle and teachings He advocated a search for the truth as the proper riches and furniture of the mind and that it was only this pursuit that distinguished one person from another regarding the meaningfulness of their lives.
Educator, philosopher and theologian, Dr. John Locke (1632 – 1704), said that, “Our first and great duty then is to bring to our studies and to our inquiries after knowledge a mind covetous of truth; that seeks after nothing else.” Locke said that when there is not an honest search for the truth, falsehood takes root; that a falsehood is below ignorance and a lie worse than nothing. If those that follow Christ really believe that what He said was true then their efforts to fully understand it and apply it should be evident. In this way, the assessment of their lives will not be how much they know, but what they could have known or should have known. Teaching churches are a necessity but so are learning congregations. Churches may offer many fine programs but if the stature and importance of the Word of God has been relegated to any small extent, they have set aside the primary reason for their existence: a pursuit of the truth.
An honest pursuit of the truth is seen in those that have not become too presumptuous or confident about what they know. Neither are they too distrustful of what they have discovered as long as it is checked and rechecked against reliable sources. Christ knew that the truth made sense and was convincing because it addressed what concerned people most. Even as the Son of God He did not expect people to just take His word for it; He encouraged them to search the Scriptures to see if what He said was true (John 5:39). For those that follow Christ, the same criterion of validation must be used. If what is being advocated is more than just an opinion or a theological creed, it can be substantiated from an objective source.
The straightest path to the truth is an honest search for it no matter where it may lead. If it is the truth it will be usable in the immediate sense, clarifying in the intellectual sense and stabilizing in the emotional sense. Those are things worth the search.
This column is the opinion of Dr. M. Hildon Guy, President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River. Dr. Guy has doctorates in Theology, Education, Counseling and Apologetics. www.universityofcss.org.