The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
From: Our Daily Journey
Talking with a colleague at a Christian prep school, I was reminded how easy it can be to judge others. Accustomed to the short hairstyles of most of our students, he was offended by the creative haircut of a visiting teen. Challenging his assumptions, I reminded him that our perception of others’ appearance isn’t an accurate way to gauge a mature, spiritual life in Christ.
Made in the image of a God who declared His creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31), we have not only the ability to recognize but the desire to celebrate beauty. But we imitate the world when we trust our perception of appearances instead of seeking the truth (Proverbs 11:22). Whether we intend to or not, when we create our own standards of worth, the way we discern is faulty—leading to wrong views of others and wrong decisions.
James addressed the church’s cultural confusion, one which values worldly success but leaves the heart unchanged, in his letter to the “believers scattered abroad” (James 1:1). James 2:1 identifies the foundation of sure truth: “Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ,” a truth that separates the lifestyle of believers from the world’s favoritism. When Christ is at the center of all we think and do, we begin to see reality, though in part, as He does.
When we’re no longer focused on others’ approval, we can be a part of creating a “kingdom culture” by valuing those who offer us nothing in return (James 2:2-4). Discrimination, especially when based on another person’s appearance, is sin because it not only denies the diversity of all people made in God’s image but it is rooted in a humanistic desire for power and control (James 2:9-10).
Godly discernment, on the other hand, displays both truth and love. And as history and Scripture bear out, we reveal God’s truth best through how we love others (1 John 3:18).
|June 18, 2018
Finding Help When We Feel Lost
“For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].” 1 Corinthians 2:10 (AMP)
We hiked up the gorgeous trail. My legs ached. I could only imagine how it stretched the legs of the two little guys behind me. The 3-year-old and 5-year-old started the hike with energy and enthusiasm, which was now clearly lagging. Hearing a wail, I turned to check on them. The 3-year-old lay crumpled in a heap.
“You left me!” he wailed.
His father (walking behind him) had eyes on him, but for just a moment our little one lost sight of us. His dad knelt and scooped him up.
I heard him whisper, “Son, if you think you are lost, just stop. Don’t move even a step, and I’ll come to you as quick as I can.”
There are times I have felt like this little guy.
I’m trekking along in my faith, loving the journey, and suddenly I feel alone or uncertain. That can happen when my faith is challenged by those who don’t believe. It can take place when God asks me to do something new, and I want to hold on to the old. It can absolutely sneak up on me when I don’t feel Him holding me as close as I used to.
In the book of First Corinthians, Paul is writing to the church of Corinth. He had planted a thriving church, but things went wrong after he left. Believers were fighting among themselves. They were arguing about what was true … and what was not. The result was that many believers felt a little lost.
In his letter, Paul reminds them of what he has taught them. He reminds them of the foundational truths of their faith. And, in today’s key verse, Paul assures them of a Helper who knows the heart of the Father, and therefore who will help us know what to believe and what to do:
“For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding]” (1 Corinthians 2:10).
Maybe you, too, feel a little lost sometimes. We all do at one time or another.
When that happens, it’s time for us to stop right where we are, so we can listen for the voice of the Helper. Sometimes that comes through Scripture or a godly friend. Sometimes it’s deep inside of us, and when we are still, we can hear that gentle voice.
Paul describes this Helper as a Counselor who knows the plans the Father has for you. He knows what you are trying to say as you cry out. (Romans 8:26-27)
He understands the difference between truth, almost truth, and lies, and He will always lead you toward truth. (John 16:13)
The Helper moves us beyond our own understanding. We are given a glimpse beyond our feelings. Beyond the circumstances. Beyond the chaos.
Whether we’re trekking uphill, loving every minute, or crumpled on the ground in uncertainty, we can trust there is a Helper who knows who we are and where we are going. We may not know the exact destination of our journey, but we can take the next step with assurance.
For God knows exactly where we are, for He has never taken His eyes off us. Not for a second.
Father, when I feel lost, remind me that my safe place is always You. May I come to You first. May I call out Your Name first. Thank You that You are near, and that You have promised a Helper all along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Where Was He?
Where was God when a two-year-old boy was dragged into the water by an alligator at a Disneyworld resort? Where was God when 49 people were gunned down in a Florida nightclub? And where was God when an Egypt Air jet with 66 persons onboard went down in the Mediterranean Sea last month?
The answer is that God was in the same place as he was when Stephen was stoned to death, John the Baptist was beheaded, Peter was hanged upside down, Abel was killed by Cain and John Huss was burned at the stake. God was there in each horrific situation, just as he was when his only son was crucified. Certainly, God could have stopped each death. He could have intervened and changed what happened. But he did not.
We do not understand. We ask why over and over again. Why did he let all of these people die? We would have done everything humanly possible to prevent the deaths. So why didn’t God? Hearing that “we don’t know why” does not offer any of us any comfort. Instead, it leaves us even more confused, more upset and more distraught. There is no way we can reconcile the fact that a God who is all-powerful and all-loving allowed his own creations to die.
What might help us, though, is to realize we understand life and death only as it is in this world. We know almost nothing about what lies beyond. We can only imagine the wonders of heaven, living in eternity and the thoughts of God. Our trust in him must take us the rest of the way, across the dark chasm of doubt and disbelief. If we trust him, and we have faith in his way, we will at least be able to cope with death.
Death to us seems like the end. But to God, death in this world is just the beginning to a new life. We may still weep because of our loss; even Jesus wept when he heard about the death of his dear friend Lazarus. Recall what Jesus said when Martha exclaimed, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” John 11:21 ESV. Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” Through our tears, may we take solace in knowing what he said is true. He is eternal proof that only our bodies die. Our true life in him lives on forever.