Living the Truth
Paul D. Money
What, after all these years, do I really know about the truth, the spirit, the will of God, and prayer and fasting, and relationship with God? The question troubles me. I hesitate to even deal with it at all.
How much of what I say I know do I really live out? Do I live the truth? Do I live out love? Further, if there are those things to which I mentally assent and do not live out, is it because I do not really believe them? I’ve heard the old preachers say that belief and obedience are firmly linked together. Jesus taught this, of course, but He also allowed for the possibility that one could hear and understand the truth and not obey. And however foolish this may be, it is nonetheless human. (Matt. 7:24-25) James recognized this trait, and warned us “not to be hearers only, but doers.”
I tremble at the whole matter of truth. Truth comes with responsibility. It comes with obligation. I speak not just of truth about God, but of truth about anything. Our journey toward God is a journey in truth. Each step in truth, every acknowledgement of truth and each fraction of understanding about truth demands yet another step. You can’t play with this. You can’t ignore it.
We study the Bible, and we say we know this or that about truth and about God; but how then do we live? It is sobering to think that we act only on what we believe, or as certain philosophers have supposed, we only believe what we obey.
Recently, I came across a scripture verse and just stared at it for some time. It is about walking in the truth or the light:
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
This is huge! And Verse 6 should place us on our knees: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”
“Do not the truth.” It is sobering. Each step requires another. He, Christ, is in the light; and fellowship with Him requires continuance (walking) in the truth and never wavering. That whole thing, it seems to me, is also about truth in our everyday life.
Walking in darkness is walking against what we know. If one knows that igniting a stick of dynamite will lead to an explosion, then with that knowledge comes the responsibility to protect oneself.
Sadly, even when we claim to know the truth, we often fail to walk in the truth. I am knocked down by that thought. Further, if I expect to have fellowship with Christ and thereby forgiveness of sin, I must walk in the Light. The light is truth of doctrine, of course, but also truth about who I am and what I am. Having been at this awhile, I will go on record and say that “casting down all imaginations” and bringing every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5) is not easy. You can lose that struggle pretty quickly, because your flesh is strong and quick to deceive and to dominate at the slightest sign of any weakness in your spiritual resolve.
Christians, I think, must go beyond merely affirming truth and preaching truth. They must boldly walk in the truth. Every day in every way, they must walk in the truth.
Truth is not a ball in an insignificant game of intellectual soccer to be kicked about on the playing field of academics. Truth is the means to freedom. But to know truth, one must know Jesus, obey Jesus, walk with Jesus. To be with Christ, one must deal with the sin question every day; one must be under grace every day. Relationship with truth is a relationship with Christ. Only the pure in heart shall be saved. Purity of the mind or of the intellect requires purity of the soul. If we would pursue great things of the mind or intellect, then let us pursue holiness of spirit. Since He is Holy, let us be holy. When we embrace this idea, we are humbled. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and then we walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: That thought weakens my confidence in the flesh.