Guidelines for seeking truth - 02

There is no greater journey in this life than seeking truth. Yesterday I discussed how questioning truth can be risky and I shared a few ways to help mitigate the risk. I'd like to share a few more guidelines for stepping out being as a seeker of truth.

  1. Take time to read and listen to authors and others you may not agree with. Try to listen with openness and respect. Try to set aside your pre-conceived ideas about their beliefs or doctrinal positions. Our faith should be built on a strong enough foundation to withstand being challenged. I think it's our pride rather than our faith that can be offended at times. Don't worry, the Holy Spirit will guide you through this process.
  2. Be prepared for criticism. Your openness and questions will challenge people and threaten some. Those who don't come to you in love and in the context of a healthy relationship probably don't have anything constructive to share. If someone you trust and respect questions the veracity of your faith, it doesn't mean you are wrong. Ask the Holy Spirit if that statement is true or not. Ask other people you respect if they think the same thing. Give their statements the time and weight they deserve and then move on accordingly.
  3. Be prepared to walk alone, just you and the Holy Spirit. It's part of the journey and those times turn out to be the most precious. It's like Jesus time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Sometimes others just can't go there with you yet.
  4. Always use what I call the mental shelf. This is maybe the most important tool I use. It's not wise to change your mind overnight. If you find something worth pursuing, set it up on that shelf in your mind. Let the Holy Spirit continue to reveal and affirm it to you. He is patient and you need to be as well. Let that new idea be challenged by other foundational truths you hold dear. If that new idea is truth and from God, it will withstand the scrutiny and you can eventually take it down off the shelf and incorporate it in your life. Do the same for truths you feel are no longer valid or need to be amended. Respect the people of faith that have gone before you. Be grateful for the foundation they have given you. Don't just throw out previously held beliefs and doctrines. Put them up on the shelf until they eventually gather cobwebs and loose relevance in your faith life.
  5. Be careful how you speak and what you tell others. You do not want to cause doubt in the minds of people who are not ready for the journey you are on. They may look up to you and respect your opinion. You could cause damage to their faith or the relationship by putting more on them than they are ready for. Sometimes the urge to be seen and understood can be overwhelming, but there is a right time and place for that. Learn how to allow the Holy Spirit to filter your speech and give you the right words to share.
  6. Be careful of your pride. If you see some distance forming between your peers, it never means your better than them or know more than them. It actually means you have a greater responsibility now to love and server them. Remember that we are all an eternity away from arriving. Never use truth to elevate yourself over other people. Respect the sincerity of their faith and celebrate truth with them.
  7. Remember, they called Jesus a heretic as well. You are in good company.

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