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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fake News is Not New

Snake Apple - 900

Is anyone besides me tired of hearing about “fake news”? You would think it was a new discovery on the level with fire. It isn’t It's been going on for a long time.

The serpent wove a pretty fantastic story in the Garden of Eden. After all, fake news is simply a false narrative constructed to incite people to follow a specific agenda. The recent political campaign had more than its share of such. The current headlines do too.

The media has been exposed as less objective than we thought or hoped. Who could believe the accounts presented about Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton or President Obama? If the story fit your bias, it was tempting to certify it as true, and even pass it on as legitimate news.

Competing Narratives

During my early high school days, before I had a driver's license, I had to catch a ride for the ten miles home after football practice. My uncle who lived just a mile away was a good prospect. He was the clerk of the district court and left for home at 5:00 p.m. most days. Sometimes when court was in session, he would be forced to stay later, and I would sit in the courtroom and watch the proceedings.

I was always amazed at how an attorney could take the presented evidence and create a narrative to account for it in such a way to benefit his desired conclusion. The jury had to decide between competing narratives. This has been going on a long time.

Back to the Garden. The serpent reinterpreted the circumstances and wove a story about how much better it would be if the original pair would distrust God and believe his version of reality instead. Later in history, Jesus said that the devil was a liar from the beginning, and “the father of lies.” All alternative narratives come from him, through the minds and mouths of those who, like the serpent, reject God's word as final truth.

Sadly, many don't even admit that such a dynamic is going on. They ignore the reality of spiritual deception and walk headlong into issues they have no ability to discern.

You are blessed in Christ. Your circumstances are opportunities to discover His grace and sufficiency.

On Christmas night, the shepherds heard real news and it was good. A new day had come! A new King had arrived. Blessings would come from His reign. Sin would be forever defeated. Life as designed would be possible for those who submitted to Him. They would be given His name as authority and His Spirit as power to live.

Fake News, Real News

You might have heard some fake news. For instance, the accuser, Satan, likes to broadcast that God is angry with you and that you should probably avoid Him. After all, look at the circumstances around you. Why are you having all these problems? Surely this is incontrovertible evidence that God doesn't want to bless you.

The good news that Jesus brings is that He took upon Himself the wrath of God for your sins. If you trust in Him, you are now viewed by God as righteous as Jesus. You are blessed in Christ. Your circumstances are opportunities to discover His grace and sufficiency.

Or, you might have heard that evil is so pervasive that it will ultimately win. Again, if you look at the circumstances, with all the bad things going on, it’s easy to wonder, if God is ruling, why so much evil?

But try looking at the good things going on. God is using His people to address issues of injustice and hostility, and will ultimately vindicate His own. Give thanks for the blessings and your eyes will open to more.

Finally, you might have heard that life is just unfair and random and you are one of the victims. Look at how the wicked are blessed and the righteous are ignored.

Far from being a victim, you are God's delegated representative on earth. As one who trusts in Him, you carry His approval and His name. He is using you to address the issues that you see with the truth of the good news that is real.

There is real news and it is good. You can trust it if it aligns with the word of God. He can be trusted and so can His word. When you know the truth you can be free.

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