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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 04/07/21

In the Light of Truth

Truth is saying what you mean, not being mean about what you say. -Kathy Carlton Willis

STORY: Oklahoma Fish

Papa loved teasing me when we visited on vacation. It was easy to pull the wool over my eyes—I was so gullible! One of his favorite pranks was when he told me we were having Oklahoma fish. It was my favorite, and no matter how many fish we pulled from the Mississippi River back home in Louisiana, Missouri, none of them ever tasted as good as Oklahoma fish. It must have been the way Granny prepared it with her special mix of cornmeal. Or maybe it was the type of grease or the temperature of the gas stove. Or her specially seasoned cast iron skillet. All I knew was—it was delicious, and I ate my fill of it every time.

I’m not sure how old I was before I realized there was an extra sparkle in Papa’s eyes when he asked me if I wanted Oklahoma fish for supper. Was he foolin’ me? Finally the mystery was revealed. I overheard him telling another grown-up that he sure had fun messing with me over the yellow squash. Yellow squash? Aha! Finally it all fell into place for me. On the days I helped Granny cut the squash off the vines, those were the nights we had Oklahoma fish. But we had yellow squash at home—these were different. Finally I asked Granny and Papa what made the difference.

That was when I learned the power of suggestion is especially potent when introduced to a naive girl who is eager to believe. Granny sliced the squash lengthwise into fish-shaped “steaks.” She prepared them like fish. So to me, they were fish. Only they weren’t.

I used to be an easy target for deception, because I took everyone at face value. Only after years of allowing others to mislead me have I learned to not be so easily fooled. Discernment plays a big role in discovering the truth. But as a little girl, I wanted to believe my supper plate included Oklahoma fish long after I learned it was only yellow squash.

(Taken from 7 Trials Every Woman Faces by Kathy Carlton Willis © 2020, used with permission.)

STUDY: Truth in Letter to Ephesians

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1:13-14 NLT)
  • What is the message of truth in this passage?
  • What is one way Jesus identified you as his own?
  • What is the role of the Spirit?
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:14–15 NLT)
  • How does God help you not be influenced by false teaching?
  • How can we make sure we speak truth when we talk to others?
  • How does growing more like Christ help us when it comes to recognizing truth and speaking truth?
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. (Ephesians 4:21–25 NLT)
  • Tell of the first time you heard about Jesus. Did you come to him in faith at that time? If not, what caused you to eventually come to him?
  • How does truth from Jesus help you grow more like God?
  • What does it take to grow more righteous and holy? What does truth have to do with it?
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8–10 NLT)
  • What does light produce?
  • How does knowing what is good and right and true help you determine what pleases the Lord?

STEPS: Stepping into Truth

  1. Add truth to your wardrobe. “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14 NLT).
  2. Communicate truth. Don’t expect others to read your mind. Communicate clearly and directly. One reason we have so many misunderstandings is because we think “If they love me, they should know this without me telling them.” It is better to bring up a matter than to expect them to automatically know it. “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” Ephesians 4:15 NLT).

Copyright © 2021 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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