Of The Truth
Of The Truth
A High Priority
In both the Old and New Testament I find that in order to be viewed as one of God’s people, I need to be someone who loves the truth:
- “Buy truth, and do not sell it” (Proverbs 23:23).
- “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether or not it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17).
- “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
- “Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
These passages speak of a universal truth that is accessible to everyone or anyone who is willing to love it and act upon what it teaches.
The Process of Self-Examination
“Examination of the world without is never as painful as examination of the world within” (The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, M.D., p. 52).
- “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).
- “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“A life of total dedication to the truth also means a life of willingness to be personally challenged. The only way that we can be certain that our map of reality is valid is to expose it to the criticism and challenge of other map-makers. Otherwise we live in a closed system – within a bell jar, to use Sylvia Plath’s analogy, rebreathing only our own fetid air, more and more subject to delusion” (The Road Less Traveled, p. 52). Thus, the Bereans examined the Scriptures daily to find the truth (Acts 17:11). With the above analogy in mind, we have two choices in life. Either we breathe the continual free air of truth or we continue to breathe our own used air, and in the process end up becoming more and more reinforced in bad habits, poor thinking and self-deception. In such a state we resemble the former famous athlete who spends their time watching replay after replay of themselves when they were young and skilled.
The Willingness to Change
Saul of Tarsus had been incredibly zealous and dedicated in his attempt to practice the Law of Moses, yet in coming to Christ he discovered that like all other men, he was a sinner (Galatians 2:17). That had to be a very unpleasant truth, and yet he did not rebel against it. We need to be honest about the darkness within us that needs to be addressed (James 1:21). Those who love the truth will see themselves as God sees them (Romans 3:23). While others will want to remain in the darkness:
- “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).
“Evil people hate the light because it reveals themselves to themselves. They hate goodness because it reveals their badness: they hate love because it reveals their laziness” (The Road Less Traveled, p. 278).
I am struck by how when we are selfish we are fearful of our deeds being exposed by God’s light. As if we are fearful of seeing ourselves as we really are, fearful of a healthy dose of reality. By contrast, truth-lovers fear something different, among other things, they fear not growing, remaining in their sins, and failing to become what God wants them to be. So the world might ridicule the Christian for his or her fear or God, yet the world is very fearful. The fear of having their real motivations, excuses, thoughts and private deeds exposed. Thus, the unbeliever who confidently claims that they do not need God, is not as “put together” as they claim to be. Their world is very fragile. So fragile that it cannot hold up under honest investigation.
Always Willing to Grow and Learn
- “The ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Luke 8:15).
- “We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
- “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
- “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing” (2 Peter 1:8).
- “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
“What does a life of total dedication to the truth mean? It means, first of all, a life of continuous and never-ending stringent self-examination” (The Road Less Traveled, p. 51).
Dedication to Honesty/Living in the Light
- “But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
- “For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
“By virtue of the fact that their maps are continually being challenged, open people are continually growing people… Because they never speak falsely they can be secure and proud in the knowledge that they have done nothing to contribute to the confusion of the world, but have served as sources of illumination and clarification. Finally, they are totally free to be. They are not burdened by any need to hide. They do not have to slink around in the shadows. They do not have to construct new lies to hide old ones. They need waste no effort covering tracks or maintaining disguises. And ultimately they find that the energy required for the self-discipline of honesty is far less than the energy required for secretiveness. The more honest one is, the easier it is to continue being honest, just as the more lies one has told, the more necessary it is to lie again. By their openness, people dedicated to the truth live in the open and through the exercise of their courage to live in the open, they become free from fear” (The Road Less Traveled, p. 63).
Being Willing to Listen
- “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear; slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19).
“An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, stepping inside his or her shoes” (The Road Less Traveled p. 127). In addition, this is a hearing where everything is judged by the word of God, rather than by what the culture says or even by my own personal preferences and opinions (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).
Only Selling God, Not Myself
- “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).
Apart from God the human race has the tendency to sell their ideas and opinions as truth. We tend to exaggerate our strengths and downplay or excuse our weaknesses. We also tend to tell only part of the truth about ourselves, as if we were giving a press conference. When I am into God and His truth I am only concerned about Him getting the credit (1 Corinthians 10:31). As far as “I” am concerned, I am imperfect, fallible, and have a lot of things to work on. Even when I think I am doing well, I do not completely trust this judgment (1 Corinthians 4:4), for God will make the final and impartial decision. So I stay close to Him and His word.
Mark Dunagan | email@example.com
Beaverton Church of Christ | 503-644-9017