Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He asks us, commands us to live in the truth, and yet so little of what we say and do in this modern world is true. So how do we hold onto the truth, when the whole world is filled with lies and half-truths, often what the newsmakers want us to hear rather than what is really true?
First, we cling to Him, to His wisdom for each of us, to His “still, small voice” within us. And we follow Him wherever He would lead us. He will reveal the truth about who we are, what needs to change or be healed in us, what our purpose is in this life, and how we are to live in this truth in all that we do.
Secondly, we have to keep a discerning ear and eye open for all that we hear and read and imagine. Is this true? Can I bet my life on its truth? What am I to make of it and to do with it? We are surrounded by lies and even our leaders these days seem to be promoting lies about our country, about the way we are to treat people, about our former enemies, about ourselves, about global warming. We need to be very careful about what we decide to act on. In fact, the best way to check things out is to run them past Christ in prayer and see what He says about what we have read or heard.
We can also look for Scriptural parallels. Jesus’s time looks more and more like our times. When everyone was about looking good, but not being good. When people will tell lies and not even regret them. When it’s all about appearance, not about facts or truth. And even then, if we base our lives on facts, they can change all the time.
Here’s a good example in the New York Times Op. Ed. Section at the end of 2019. Entitled “This Has Been the Best Year Ever: For humanity over all, life just keeps getting better.” Now for many of us, that’s a shocking headline, because things everywhere seem to be going to hell in a handbasket. But Op. Ed. writer Nicholas Kristof quotes study after study about the great increases in lives across the globe:
- Childhood deaths have dropped to 4% from 27% in 1950.
- The % of people subsisting on $2. a day is now at 10% from 42% in 1981.
- We are now approaching 90% of [the world’s] population being able to read and write. These are facts. Taken together, the truth is that now so many more people are living better lives across the world.
These facts get lost in the anxiety about where the world and our country are headed. And what is labeled “fact” is often just opinion or facts skewed to support someone’s point of view. There are fact-checkers out there, but do we really pay attention, or do we just embrace the viewpoints we already cling to?
If we cling to the truth, it will set us free. It will set us free from the world and whatever is captivating it right now, like the coronovirus. It will ground us in the reality of God’s providence and love, while we adopt God’s way of seeing the world and treating everyone. And as we gain experience from following the truth of Christ and living in His mind, we can see more and more what is real and true in this world as well. We can read the stories and see the facts. We can question what doesn’t appear to be true. We can dig for the truth about what we need to know. We can live in the truth, free of the burdens of the lies that surround us. We can live in the truth of God’s love and be surrounded by it. We are able to not take anything personally, or as the culture would wish us to take it. We are free of our own burdens—challenges and pain and suffering– and of the ones our culture wishes us to bear—anxiety and overwhelming materialism and standing on our own alone.
The basic truth of the Christian faith is that if we dedicate our lives to Christ, to God, if we follow His lead in all that we do, we will live fulfilling, purposeful lives, lived as we were created to be in this world. And therein lies the truth about our existence. We were each created to play a certain role in this world, to help others by using the gifts and talents we were born with and what we have learned from our own suffering. The more we hang out with Christ, the more we will realize the promise of our creation. The more we will be helping others to find the same truth.
Questions to ponder over the week: What has God healed in me? What thinking still controls my reactions and behavior? What is left to heal in me? Do I want to live in the truth about myself and God? Do I want to be free of all that limits who I was created to be? What would it be like to be free of the world?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who actively seek His healing powers and love. May we be true to God and to our deepest selves. May we be free.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 3.9.20.s is entitled, “Belief, Faith, Discipleship.”
 John 8:31-32
 1 Kings 19:12
 Matthew 11:30