Monday, December 16, 2013

The pursuit of truth

Truth has to be one of the most important things in the lives of human beings. We are all searching for truth about different things in life - who we really are, what our purpose is, who we should marry, what football team we should support, etc etc. Many of us devote our entire lives to the search for truth, not only for our own sakes but for the sake of others whom we can share the truth with once we find it.

Jesus was the single most devoted person in history to the truth. He spent His entire time on earth preaching the truth about many different aspects of life. The truth he preached won Him many friends. It also created many enemies - mainly because the truth that He preached offended them because it didn't line up with what they wanted. The Son of God was unfailing love. He was also unfailing truth and invited His followers to journey with Him throughout His life's mission of both preaching and fulfilling the truth through His sacrifice.

In John 6, Jesus was teaching about His crucifixion. Many of His followers became offended with His teaching and said - "This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?" (John 6:60). Jesus' response to them was simple - "Does this offend you?.....There are some of you who don't believe." (John 6:61-65). The following verse is very telling - "From that time many of His disciples turned away, and walked with Him no more." (John 6:66). Jesus was not a man of compromise when it came to the truth. He knew what was right - and He stuck by it. He challenged His disciples to put the truth even before themselves - and only those who truly loved the truth and believed in Him accepted what Jesus said to them and stayed with Him. The rest disappeared.

We all have a certain knowledge and understanding of the truth in our lives. Each of us has different truths that relate to us as individuals. The truth that Jesus was preaching about His own crucifixion challenged the belief systems many of the people of His time held dear. Yet they proved to Jesus that they were only interested in the truth just so long as it suited them and lined up with what they wanted. They couldn't handle their core beliefs being challenged by anyone - even the Son of God - and therefore chose to walk away. Jesus' pursuit of the truth took Him to a bloody death on a tree. The only disciple that embraced the truth of His journey enough to be able to walk with Him to the very end was John - who is often interpreted in scripture as "The Disciple that Jesus loved." (John 13:23).

Truth has become something that has become very, very important to me - especially over the last few years. Spending a life in constant, almost indefinable trauma has lead me on a relentless pursuit for truth as throughout my own journey inwards over the last 12 years - which has brought me most of my healing - I have come to know for a fact that "the truth will set you free." (John 8:32). The truth which has brought me the most healing has challenged me very deeply and forced me to let go of any ounce of pride I ever had in my life as I became more and more aware that stubborn pride blocks ones ability to face the truth in their own lives. I have developed enough inner strength now to be honestly able to say that I do love the truth and I am prepared to stand by it - even when it hurts me. Most of the time, the truth has only really hurt because it's challenged me on a deeply rooted lie I've been subconsciously believing - sometimes for a very long time.

I have had to learn that when a word I knew was true was spoken into my life and it hurt me deeply - it was because God was using the truth to weed out the deeply rooted lies I was believing in my own heart. I then had two choices - to either become offended and reject the truth because it upset me, or embrace the truth and accept that the very fact it upset me meant that I was being challenged on something I needed to be challenged on. Sometimes this was a very hard and lengthy process and it could be a long time before I was truly able to identify the lie I was already believing in my own soul that this truth was clashing with. But I had to realize that this process was all a part of spiritual growth  as becoming a stronger, more emotionally healthy human being meant to uproot the lies in my soul and replace them with God's truth. The uprooting process was painful - even more so when the lies had been deeply reinforced over time. But I had to realize that if I didn't embrace this process, I wouldn't have grown. God bluntly told me once - "Do you want to get better, or not?" It was up to me to make the choice to do the right thing and allow the lies to come to the surface so that I could identify and be healed of them.

What I've found is that many Christians do want to love and embrace the truth, but we are all at different stages in our walk. Some are not yet ready to face the truth about themselves that they need to face in order to move on. Some need to see their pursuit of their own plans completely fall apart before they are ready to submit to the truth of God's plan for their lives (I was one of these people). And then, there are some who are well aware of the fact that God has spoken the truth - yet are so hopelessly obsessed with their own pride that they willingly reject the will of God because He wants something different to what they do. I recently lost a long term friendship because of this, and though it's upset me greatly, it's better that I know now where this person was at before I invested any more into them.

It's hard and painful when you see the loss of people in your life because others do not understand your quest for truth and your development into the person God has called you to be. It's made me realize just how important it is to surround oneself with people who are truly prepared to embrace the truth in every sense and that they are humble enough to allow God to speak His truth into their hearts and change their lives. Simply professing to be a Christian is not enough. You cannot put yourself, finances, loyalty to relationships, and other things before the truth. If you truly claim to love the truth, you must put it first and put your money where your mouth is. You must be prepared to face the truth - most importantly, the truth about yourself. Look to the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22). He simply couldn't accept that He had to give up his wealth. Jesus challenged him on the deepest belief he held in his own heart - which was that money was more important than anything. Even though the young man knew Jesus had spoken, He couldn't accept his truth and went away sad, refusing to follow Jesus and gain eternal life as he wished for because the price was too high - the price of having to let go of his own pride and dependence on material things.

At the end of the day, God's truth - especially His spoken Rhema word - is absolute and unchanging. Learn to embrace it and if it offends you, ask Him to help you understand why you are so offended. Don't be upset when He challenges you on deep issues in your heart. He is doing it because He loves you and wants to grow you more as a person. Embracing God's truth is the best thing we can ever do for our own souls - even if it does hurt at times. Count the cost, and realize that it's better to learn the truth God has given to us than walk around in a place of prideful offence because we refuse to face the lies we believe deep in our own souls.

Take care.

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