July is the month when we celebrate our freedom in this country. It is worth celebrating! Scripture is clear that God hates oppression in any form, and so the political freedoms that we enjoy are a blessing from Him. Discussions about freedom, though, often center around the issue of rights. And while personal and corporate rights are a legitimate component of freedom, our Lord is much more concerned about the spiritual freedom that often entails the sacrifice of our rights for the good of others. If we want real, eternal freedom, we must look beyond our rights to find the freedom that the Lord offers, the freedom that is the fruit of knowing the truth.
We live in a day where truth is personal and subject to change at any moment. We, like Adam and Eve, cannot seem to resist looking to feel good about ourselves, by ourselves. And so the concept of absolute truth that was once commonly if not universally accepted has taken a beating.
Truth can be challenging indeed. A well-known line from the film A Few Good Men sums it up nicely: “You can’t handle the truth!” We prefer our own custom-made truths that serve to keep us in our comfort zone and protect us from the need to grow.
But there is a cost to such an approach. We serve the Lord Jesus Christ, whose identity and nature are Truth. If we serve lesser truths, we miss the opportunity to know our Lord, partake in His nature, and become who He has created us to be. Please consider this quote with me:
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
David Foster Wallace
This reference to Jesus’s words as recorded in John 8 bears significant thought. In this section of John’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching about what it means to be one of His disciples. The life of a disciple is one of knowing the truth, and then reaping the fruit of freedom that truth offers. It is no small matter.
One aspect of knowing the truth is knowing Jesus as the Truth. We become enabled to know Truth as we pursue a personal faith relationship with Him. In order to do this, though, we must put aside the selves that would prefer comfort and independence and find our identity in our Lord. And then, as we develop this faith relationship with Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit is able to do His work of sanctification. The Bible tells us that the Spirit is a wind, blowing where it will; as it blows unpredictably within us, it will often expose lies that have been masquerading as truth. If we can embrace the work of the Holy Spirit, He will be more and more able to make us whole: to bring the truths that we believe into alignment and harmony with our faith relationship with the Truth.
As we persist in knowing the Truth in deeper and fuller ways and commit to the work of the Holy Spirit within us, then the truth will indeed make us free: free from the penalty and power of sin; free from the opinions and expectations of others and our culture; free from lies that would bind us in self-imposed boxes. It is, of course, a life-long process, but that only tells us that the time to start—or continue—is now.