07 Oct 2021

The Campaign Against Truth – Part 5: Staying Close to God

Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

Isaiah 59: 14-17


Similar to the latter half of the scripture above, I concluded the opening blog of this series by quoting Ephesians 6:11 – 20. In that section, Paul admonishes the Ephesians to “put on the whole armor of God.” It is an inspiring section of scripture, which is supposed to spur us to action. But what kind of action is Paul emphasizing?

We’ve spent the last three blogs discussing how information can be used to deceive us; the ways in which it is effectively used; and how to better equip our minds to deal with these tactics and techniques. Yet, even if we do all of the research into the topics we’ve discussed, we are still likely to fall prey to the campaign against truth. We may justify our actions or just demonize the group or individual that deceived us, but the damage has been done. So the question remains: how can we effectively fight against the campaign against truth? There is only one path we can follow to make sure we overcome this campaign against us: stay close to God.

Don’t Believe Me, Believe Your Bible!

For many of us, the words headlining this section will live in our memories forever. Yet, while this was a rallying cry for many of us, there is additional meaning behind this phrase, which is important to emphasize: you must understand what is in your Bible! How can you believe what the Bible says if you don’t know what is in it? That’s where Paul’s admonition to the Church in Thessalonica becomes of extreme importance: “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”

In the final blog of this series, we’ll discuss three questions that can help us stay close to God: 1) What does it mean to prove all things? 2) When is it appropriate to question the things we have learned? 3) What is the purpose of our training today? As we discuss these questions, I’ll emphasize that what we spend energy, time, and care on is what we’re going to spend time thinking about. If we don’t stay close to God now, how can He rely on us to be kings and priests in His coming kingdom?

Prove All Things

The scripture I quoted from 1 Thessalonians 5 is a scripture we hear quoted and bandied around quite a bit. But I wonder, how many of us actually do what Paul said to do? And how many of us have looked deeply into what it means to prove all things? Let’s take a quick look at the word used here.

The word in that scripture is the Greek word “dokimázō.” This word comes up in a few other important scriptures throughout the New Testament, including 1 Corinthians 11:28, in which Paul tells the Corinthians, “But let a man examine himself…” The word for examine is also dokimázō! We talk a lot about that during the Passover season, but this is something we should be doing in all walks of life. But let’s take some time to talk about dokimázō and the meaning behind the word. It is a derivative of a word that was used to test the makeup of coins, to test to see if the coin was a forgery or not. By putting the coin in an extremely hot fire, it would test the worth of the metal. That is the type of rigor that Paul is telling us to invest in our examinations of the things we believe. Let’s also take a look at a scripture in 1 Corinthians that talks about this kind of test but in a spiritual context.

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Our conversion is precious, more precious than any of the materials Paul mentions here. So, we need to put in all of our energy and focus on it. If we are caught up in politics, entertainment, partying, or the commandments of men, then God will notice. And our works will be burnt up in the fire.

To Question or Not to Question

Some people may have the attitude that, “I shouldn’t question what I believe because I’d be questioning scripture. Who am I to question God?” To be clear, we shouldn’t question God or His motives. What we should question is our interpretation of what the scripture says. Prove all things means to make sure that you know what the Bible says! Not to mention, if we don’t study something for a long time, we tend to forget what the Bible actually says on that topic. So, really, the answer to the question, “When is it appropriate to question the things we have learned?” is all the time! We are in a constant state of learning, so what we learned ten years ago may not be true. We may have found additional scriptures that shed more light on the topic, or we may have had a life experience that brings out a different meaning to scripture.

In a similar vein, John says in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This admonition is vitally important for many reasons. One, it is consistent with Paul’s writing on proving. But it is also important because too many times people think that ideas, or possibly even actual spirit beings, are moving us to do God’s will, but they may be our own desires pushing us in one direction, or even an evil spirit trying to influence us.

God understands each of our hearts. He knows us better than we know ourselves. As long as we are questioning in a mindset of genuine desire to learn and understand God’s word better, He will bless our efforts.

Our Basic Training

God has a lot in store for those who love Him, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to receive those promises. That’s where our training comes in. Peter says we are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood,” and John, in Revelation says we are “kings and priests.” There is a lot of responsibility in those positions! In order to effectively rule and serve God, we need to develop the very character of God.

God’s character can’t be created by fiat; it is something that needs to be developed! Experience is needed to bring out the true nature of a person. Remember the verse in 1 Corinthians 3 we looked at? That’s the kind of spiritual test that we will go through to make sure God is bringing people into His family that match His character! Of course, it’s easy to say that we need to have a certain kind of character and even list some of the attributes we must have. It’s an entirely different situation to know how to develop that kind of character. Let’s start by looking at an often-read scripture in Romans 12.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12: 1-2)

And there’s that word again: dokimázō! As we look to prove the things of God, we learn what His will is. Through this constant learning process, we learn how to transform our minds into one like Christ’s. Yet, we cannot do it of our own accord. We must always seek the help of Christ; we look to Him as our example. As Hebrews 12:2 says, Christ is the “finisher of our faith.” He completes us. And we can’t be like Christ if we are spending most of our energy and time doing other things. There’s a reason why Christ used such hyperbolic language in Luke 14:26 when talking about how to be one of His disciples. We have to be willing to even forsake our own families – our own flesh and blood – if we are to be true disciples of Christ!

I can’t give you a formula for how to exactly become like Christ. Each of us are different. We all have different strengths and different life experiences. Those experiences shape how we view the world and thus shape how we internalize the Word of God. We must all diligently search the scriptures and use the Holy Spirit to help us through this journey!

Hold Fast to What is Good!

It can’t be stressed enough in the Church that the journey each and every one of us are on is filled with hardship, stress, and myriad of trials. I believe it is one of the many reasons why God has called out a people to join His family. We need to be a support for the rest of the Body. If we do forsake our flesh and blood families, who can we go to for comfort and edification? Christ called 12 disciples, not just one or a bunch of people all over Israel without each of them in contact with the others. We are meant to become one with each other and with Christ!

That’s why Paul tells the Thessalonians to also “hold fast to what is good.” Make sure you have support for the darkest of times; keep your mind on the things of God, as He is good. He wants us to keep a good attitude. For even in the darkest of times, God sees the light. We must also see the light. We’ve read the end of the story, and we know that God’s plan succeeds! That is something we can hold onto.

I want to end this series with the wonderful words of the apostle Paul, as he wrote to the Philippians. Take these words to heart and remember that if you stay close to God, He will give you the strength to carry on and fight against the campaign against truth!

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4: 6-8)



Check out the other installments of Stephen’s “Campaign Against Truth” blog series:

The Campaign Against Truth – Part 4: Understand Yourself

The Campaign Against Truth – Part 3: Knowing the Influences

The Campaign Against Truth – Part 2: Understanding the Phenomenon

The Campaign Against Truth – Part 1: Introduction

About the Author

Stephen Russo is a second-generation Church of God member born and raised in New York. In 2018, Stephen received his Masters of Science in Applied Intelligence from Mercyhurst University and currently