If I ever hit my head and develop amnesia, I will not have to go a long time without knowing my name. In fact, thanks to my children, I am reminded of my name several hundred times on a daily basis. (“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOM! Mommmmmmeeeeeeee!”) Repetition is the name of the game that children play, and it forces parents to learn very quickly the meaning of patience. Many adults have been pushed to the brink of insanity just by having to hear the “Barney Theme Song” one too many times. You can take a survey to verify this, but I believe that the number one repeated word of choice for youngsters is “Why?”
An average conversation with a three year old looks something like this:
Parent: Please come here now.
Parent: Because I asked you to.
Parent: Because I want you to come here.
Parent: Because I asked you to.
Child: Why? Why? Why?
Parent: (Face down in soup) Aaaaaaaaghh!
For a while, I considered boycotting the letter “y” from the alphabet. However, I have recently learned that I should be encouraging the natural questioning of my children. Most young children are natural Truth Seekers. They do not initially accept an answer at face value; they need validation and confirmation. That is why they will not accept “because I said so”, as an answer. If they are not nurtured in this search for corroboration of truth, the desire becomes squelched in adulthood. Not only will they stop asking “why,” but they will also stop caring. It is the ultimate lesson in “How to Become Jaded.”
Our five year old, Grace, is not one to readily accept an answer. One day I made a comment about the sun going down, to which she responded, “The sun doesn’t really go down, does it Mommy?” For you sports fans, she was throwing a flag on the play. I had never taught astronomy to her, but she challenged the truth of my statement. This challenge resulted in a lengthy explanation about the solar system that I had planned for her middle school years. Rather than letting me off the hook, she was choosing to seek the truth.
Truth Seeking 101 should be a mandatory college course. Somewhere along the way, adults seem to lose a little bit of the basics, especially concerning religion. I know several people who believe that the truth is whatever you believe it to be in your heart. In other words, everyone has his or her own truth. (Which reminds me-Logic should also be a mandatory course). If everyone’s own opinion is the truth, then we might as well pack up our brains right now, because nothing will ever make sense! God makes it clear that there is one Truth, and that His desire is for us to pursue it:
1 Timothy 2:3 and 4
(3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
(4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Many people like to quote “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32), but they leave out the all-important preceding words spoken by Jesus. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When you keep the context of the verses, Jesus Christ stated that the way in which truth will set you free is through the truth of what he taught. His teachings are conveniently located in our Bibles! The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you” (2 Thess. 2:15), which now have been passed on to us through the church epistles.
When learning to become a Truth Seeker, daily time studying the Bible is a course requirement. The book of Acts explains why the Bereans were of more “noble character” than the Thessalonians:
…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Every time Paul taught the Word to the Bereans, they verified the truth themselves. They were not ashamed to ask, “Why?” or any other question. Examining the Scriptures in this manner has become a lost art. Sometimes people are afraid that the truth might challenge their lifelong traditions. It’s as if Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men is yelling in their ear, “You can’t handle the truth!” Ironically, once we realize that the Word is truth, not only can we handle it, but it also liberates our hearts and brings us peace.
The Word of God is truth, but it will not leap off of the pages into our brains. We need to do the following:
2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Before I started studying the Bible, I did not “handle” the truth at all; I fumbled it. Instead of being a “workman,” I simply allowed myself to be fed the traditions of men without question. If you constantly “feed” yourself with something that is empty, you will never be satisfied.
Now that I am teaching our children, I no longer have the luxury of accepting something blindly. Sometimes I’m engaging in a tennis match of logic when I serve them a truth of the Scripture-they lob it back to me with, “WHY?” Thankfully, this forces me to work diligently, for they hold me accountable for logical answers that will satisfy their appetite for God’s Word. How can I expect my own children to consume a diet of traditions, when they are hungry for the truth?
One advantage of the constant barrage of questions from our children is that it forces me to think. Sometimes I rush through a biblical record, but the kids will ask me to go back and paint a clearer picture. For example, our daughter Grace wanted to know if Jesus was wearing sandals when he walked on the water. I had never given it any thought, but she was concerned about whether or not his shoes got wet. Another time when I explained that Jesus will return in the clouds, she asked exactly how we would get out of the house to meet him. These are questions that most adults do not ponder, but she was probably already working on some sort of Emergency Evacuation Plan, and she needed details for the diagram.
These countless wonderful moments with our children have allowed me to reflect more on the Scriptures and challenge my brain to work overtime. No, baby Moses did not go floating down the river like a ride at a water park, and no, Noah’s ark was not a small house boat filled with stuffed animals. Thankfully, God has unlimited patience with man.
Ephesians 6:14 exhorts believers to stand “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Notice that it does not use “suspenders,” which tend to slip off the shoulder, but a buckled belt. Whenever people eat too much, they like to loosen up their pants a little to get some breathing room. You rarely see someone wearing a belt at an all-you-can-eat buffet for just that reason. A belt is secure and difficult to remove! Just like children and their endless demand of WHY’s, we should be relentless in our pursuit of truth, and then fasten it securely with a belt to complete the full armor of God. It’s never too late to become a truth seeker!