Familiar scene, right?
How many of you will stop off behind the grocery store to go dumpster diving and do a little trading for your newly purchased goods on your way home?
But bear with me for a moment…maybe it’s not all that far-fetched.
You pull up to the smelliest garbage bin you can find and as your kids watch in astonishment, you start pulling out your fresh clusters of grapes and trading them in for those squooshed ones at the bottom of an old box. You toss your fresh apples in the bin and trade them out for some brown rotten ones, swarming with fruit flies and the stench of decay. Fresh milk for soured milk. Bright red meat for maggot infested steaks. And on through your sacks you go, picking and choosing which foods to hold on to and which to trade out and trade down.
Who needs fresh when you can have rotten, right?
If you’re like me, your stomach is already turning at the very thought. Of course, none of us would exchange perfectly good food for such disgusting decay. Or would you?
What if the food was spiritual instead of physical?
What if the dumpster was a pack of Satan’s lies?
Would you still be abhorred at the thought of a trade?
When you look in the mirror and think that you’re anything except beautifully created for a unique intention – you’ve just made a horrible trade by exchanging the truth of purposeful design for an ugly self-image.
When you look around at your disaster strewn house and crying children and think that you are a horrible person, unfit for mothering or anything else – you have just traded the truth that you’ve been called, qualified, and equipped for a putrid lie that you are incompetent.
When you’re fighting with your spouse and you believe you’re trapped with nowhere to go – you just exchanged a priceless truth for a dirt-cheap lie. The truth is that the author of marriage is a God of hope and sacrificial love and that your spouse isn’t your enemy, Satan himself is.
When your heart aches to be truly known and loved, but self-doubt and a low view of yourself condemns you before you dare to try, you’ve traded the beautiful truths of value, worth, and dignity for the rancid stink of self-loathing.
Maybe dumpster diving is starting to sound a little more familiar…a little too familiar. What we need to remember is the mental image of trading sweet for soured from the beginning of this post and how disgusting it was to even consider throwing away valuables for garbage.
It’s far more deadly to trade the truths of God for lies than to trade ripe food for decaying filth.
The beautiful thing is that God desires more for us! He wants us to live in truth, walk in it, be surrounded by it. Dance In It.
We can be free in truth because His grace has been provided to us through the sacrificial death of Jesus in our place.
There are a lot of truths that God makes available to those who believe in Him in the Bible that we can stake our lives on. Here’s just a sampling:
You were created for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10)
You have dignity (Proverbs 31:25)
You are the treasure of God (Matthew 10:31)
He will equip you for every good work (Hebrews 13:20-21)
You are free (John 8:36)
He will never leave you or forsake you (Isaiah 41:10)
He will never abandon you (Psalm 138:8)
He will comfort you (II Corinthians 1:4)
He will redeem your life (Psalm 103:4)
You are loved beyond imagining (Isaiah 43:4)
These truths are 100% real and we can base our lives on them, but none of them matter if we don’t accept the two biggest truths:
One: You and I are sinners, hopelessly lost and condemned to eternal separation from God because of our own incapability to be sinless. Ever lied? You’re a sinner. Ever lusted? Sinner. Ever chosen to not honor your parents? Sinner. Ever stolen (even a pen from work)? Sinner. The list could go on. So, what’s the big deal with sin? (it’s not like your sins are that bad, right?) Because God is absolutely perfect, He cannot allow sin to be in His presence. Sin comes at a price that must be paid and the payment is death. That means you and I have already been sentenced to an eternal death and separation from God as a result of our sinfulness. We can never pay for our sin, we are literally condemned to death.
Two: Jesus, God the Son, lived a perfect life (the one we could never live), and died a gruesome, horrible death, taking our sinfulness fully on Himself, and separating Himself from God the Father because of Our Sin.
He took the full payment for our sin by taking our place.
He, being perfectly God, was the only one who could be the sacrifice because He had never sinned. He took death, took separation from God the Father, and literally died as a substitute for us.
As incredible as this truth is, it would be meaningless if Jesus stayed in the tomb, but He didn’t! He rose again to once and for all conquer sin, death, and separation forever.
Although this truth and the offer of free forgiveness are available to everyone, like any gift, you have to actually receive it personally to benefit from it.
It isn’t yours because you go to church on Sunday, it isn’t yours because you’re a good person, it isn’t yours because you’ve been married for 40 years, or because you’re parents were Christians, or because you give generously to the church. It only becomes yours when you choose to allow God to be the leader of your heart and life. It becomes yours when you understand that Jesus took your rightful place on the cross and you ask Him to forgive you once and for all.
With these two truths as our foundation, all of the other truths (the ones I mentioned above and so many more) carry their full weight in our lives.
Lies become despicable.
Truth becomes priceless treasure.
And we can begin to see ourselves the way God truly sees us……
Beautiful, Forgiven, Capable, Redeemed, Qualified, Equipped, Restored, Purposed, FREE!
When we know and embrace the full weight and worth of the truths we hold, the idea of trading them out for garbage becomes as disgusting to us as the idea of trading in bright, red strawberries, for gnat infested brown ones.
What truths are you holding onto as if your life depended on it and which ones do you willingly trade out for trash on a regular basis? Maybe you haven’t investigated the Two Biggest Truths for yourself. If not, what’s keeping you away? Send me an email or comment below with your thoughts.
Here’s to holding on to Truth!