Who are you? What is your identity? These are just two of the many questions at the heart of the human experience — questions that have become increasingly difficult to answer in the modern era, especially as culture pedals us a slew of mixed messages that collectively do anything but set us on course to live out our best, most fruitful and God-aligned lives.
Each day we are up against a ferocious array of messages in media, Hollywood and through our educational venues that run counter to truth and reality. Meanwhile, there’s an enemy intent on authoring a confusion that slowly erodes our confidence in God and His unending love.
Due to an amalgam of misfired cultural signals and the pitfalls of our human hearts, too many of us buy into a multitude of lies that push us toward relativism — mistruths that tell us that morals have no fixed or central base and that our emotional whims should guide our thoughts, actions and worldviews.
At the same time, much of culture is being dominated by incivility, anger and infighting. These dynamics have left us hardened due to their overwhelmingly frigid and unfortunate chill. Too many of us have forgotten Jesus’ commands: love God and love others.
Meanwhile, various veils are clouding not only our vision of God, but our understanding of His plans for our lives and, more broadly, the natural order that He set into motion. It is precisely this subject that Nik Matthews masterfully tackles in The Nine Veils: The Reputation of God and Our Struggle for Identity — a must-read book for any Christian looking for confidence in his or her spiritual walk.
One of the most convicting elements of the book is the much-needed focus on the potential veils that could be harming our understanding of the Almighty. This focus on the individual is essential, especially as we each exist, live and interact in a confused and dilapidated culture.
As Matthews so beautifully summarized: bad habits and malleable judgement on the individual level can eventually transform society. In The Nine Veils he writes, “When we let bad habits rule our lives we leave ourselves open for the enemy. If done in isolation, a bad habit impacts the individual; when the individual is a part of a family the family is impacted.
When the family is part of a community, then society is impacted. When communities form bad habits, whole nations can be impacted.” Again: who are you? Where is your identity rooted? Many of us are rightfully concerned about the state of our world, but perhaps too few of us are willing to look deeper at our own spiritual condition, allowing apathy to reign.
Many of us assume we will be around eternally, shuffling the subject of death to the back of our minds while living as though our lives will carry on without incident. While it’s true that we will each experience an estimated 30,000 sunrises during our lifetimes, there are no guarantees that we will each make it to age 80.
Life is short, and we serve a God who created us, loves us, and who wishes us to be relational with Him, getting to know the Almighty in an intimate and transformational way.
“God is good,” as Matthews notes, but are we truly living in a veil free way — one that allows us to experience and comprehend the fullness of his goodness? Are doubt, fear or the inability to answer tough questions about God preventing us from experiencing him in the way he wants?
These are honest questions that beg truthful responses from us all.
God isn’t afraid of our questions, as Matthews explains throughout The Nine Veils. The best antidote to doubt and confusion is knowledge and understanding. Matthews provides you with that — and plenty more.
- Billy Hallowell
Director of communications and content, PureFlix.com
Author, “The Armageddon Code,” “Fault Line” and “Left Standing”