Freed by the truth!

On Friday evening, I attended a special presentation at a local church. A 4 year-old girl who knows me from Good Shepherd Christian Academy saw me there and came to sit with me. Since she had seen the program before, she kept me briefed about what was coming next, much to my delight. She made herself comfortable on my lap. At one point she looked me directly in the eye and asked, “Did you brush your teeth?” “Yes,” I answered, curious about the turn in conversation. She then proceeded to innocently and honestly tell me that I had bad breath! I was so amused, that I almost had to walk outside to regain my composure How many other people had I chased away that evening with halitosis? But, Kiarra, with her childish honesty, was free to tell me the truth, with no concern about offending me, at all. And her truthfulness provided me with important information so I could put a mint in my mouth and take care of a problem. I, too, benefited from the truth.

Do you grapple with the truth or do you prefer to live in ignorance? Some of us seem to prefer our fantasies and perceptions over the truth, don’t we? Many go to great lengths to avoid facing life’s realities. If we tell ourselves the truth about this world and ourselves, we are compelled to do something about what we know. Mortality is one of the facts that many work hard to deny or avoid. There is the cliché of mid-life crisis, that time ’round 45-50, when men begin to see the signs of age and buy a sports car or have an affair. It’s about avoiding the truth! There are those people who cannot face the emptiness of the life they have built around things, money, and image who keep up the illusion of significance by inflating their stories, desperate to avoid the truth that they have wasted life.

There are those who are refreshing honest with themselves and the world. They are, in a phrase, ‘at home in their own skin.’
These blessed people have learned to be who they are not pretending to be who they want to be.
They are content (not apathetic) with the place and opportunities of life as it is, not as someone says it ought to be.
They live above fashion, care little for popular opinion, and choose to do what is right because it is right, not because it will bring applause.
They have a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, about where they can make the best contribution to their world.
They don’t crave approval and are unfazed by the ebb and flow of human accolades, because they know and do God’s will, which gives them the ability to remain steady through it all!
Those who live truthfully are liberated to live their own life, free from pressure and opinion. Their authenticity makes them people we all love to be around because we don’t have to play any games and we know that we can trust them.

The Bible says – “Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (James 1:23-25, The Message)
Isn’t that rich? People who hear the Word of God but don’t obey it, are as foolish as the man who sees his reflection in a mirror and observes his dirty face, but does not wash it and goes out to dinner thinking he looks great, even though he is, in fact, disgusting! People who look intently into the mirror of the Word and then respond to the Truth it reflects, are transformed, made holy, and set right. They gain the delight of being a person of whom God approves.

Jesus says it simply – “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV) Let’s be compelled by the Truth. As we hear and see it, let’s believe it and receive it. Then we will do the Father’s will.

Here’s a story Jesus told. Ponder it today, as you ask yourself, am I really committed to the truth and to obedience, or just saying the right words?

“A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’ “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.
“The father gave the same command to the second son.

He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?” They said, “The first.”

Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32, The Message)

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