Doubt and the Quest for Truth.
Read Jeremiah 17:7-10; Proverbs 3:5-6
“The heart is deceitful than all else.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
The age of information has evolved into misinformation where we struggle to determine what is true from what merely appears and advertises itself as truth. Because there is so much conflicting information, we have turned to the only source that we feel we can trust, and that is ourselves. No longer do we trust the experts; rather, everyone has become an expert. The movie star and Instagram influencers become experts about dieting, politics, world events, medicine, and any other topic that they care to be right about. In the endless stream of information, we have learned to trust only ourselves. With the proliferation of misinformation and conflicting information, we have become doubtful of anyone who claims to have any knowledge. This includes the scientist and anyone who claims to be an authority, including teachers, politicians, pastors, and doctors. Because we have been inundated with conflicting messages not only about medicine but also about what is morally right and wrong, we have become skeptical about everything. The struggle to discover truth leads us to turn to the only person we can trust---ourselves. Not only do we turn inward to our reason to determine what is socially and even medically correct, but we also turn to our own reason to determine what is true. Truth becomes what I believe it to be. We are told that the only way to discover what is right truly is to “follow your own heart” and strive to “be true to yourself.”
However, scripture warns us that turning inward to discover the truth will ultimately bring personal disaster. Because of sin, we are corrupted to the very core of our being. Our inward moral and spiritual compass is hopelessly distorted and deceitful. Not only can we be deceived by the misinformation of others, but we can also be deceived by the misinformation of our reason and moral perspective. If we cannot trust others and cannot even trust ourselves, where are we to turn?
For both Jeremiah and the sage, the answer lies in the person of God. Instead of trusting our understanding, we are to place our trust in God and his word. When we rivet our upon the word and person of God, then we find the foundation for flourishing in life. The struggles of life reveal the foundation of our soul. Recently we were shocked by the sudden collapse of an apartment complex in Miami. We were left to wonder how a building that appears solid and secure could suddenly collapse without warning. The answer lies not in the appearance of the superstructure but the stability of the foundation. So it is in life. When life is going well, there is nothing that tests the foundation. But when adversity strikes, it reveals the stability of our soul. This stability for life can only come through the trust in the character of God and the foundation of his word. Only God can search the heart and mind and identify and correct any crumbling of the soul. This is what makes doubt so destructive in our life. For doubt arises when we trust ourselves rather than God, and his nature and word conflict with our thoughts.
Who do you trust? Do you base your morality, ethics, and life upon what seems right to you? Or do you base your life upon God and his word? If you trust in yourself, you have built a house that will inevitably collapse because it has a crumbling foundation.