Truth Brings Freedom
“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” John 8:31-32
It is extremely important that we have the ability to recognize the truth and separate it from lies and falsehood. We should be keenly aware at all times that there are lies being promoted and presented before us in all areas of our lives. Consider that lies come from the world, and they come from the devil, who is the prince of this world, and they come from ourselves. Yes, we deceive ourselves into believing lies for a number of reasons: to remove guilt, or to ease the pain of reality, or to please others, or to gain praise from others, or to help us accomplish the challenges in our lives.
Lies also come from sources that we may consider spiritual or godly. False doctrines and false teachings can be disguised by combining them with truth to lead us astray.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Cor. 11:13-15
Just because someone knows a great deal of truth, does not mean that they are incapable of telling lies. In fact, the opposite is true. When lies are surrounded by other truths, they are more easily accepted and harder to detect. Don’t be fooled!
There is a part of us that wants to trust and accept people. We want to believe what they say. There is also a part of us that wants to hear answers to our problems. We want solutions and direction, but this makes us gullible. We must be aware of these tendencies and overcome them.
So how can we know the truth? How can we detect lies? What protects us from being deceived? Here are some aids in our ability to sort out truth from lies:
Continue in God’s word
The Bible is a revelation of truth from our Creator God. It is absolute truth. We need to study and meditate on this word and brainwash ourselves with it. If you aren’t being brainwashed with God’s Word, then you are being brainwashed by something else. Especially in today’s society with television, movies, music, the internet, radio, etc., there is a constant bombardment of information that affects the way that we think and see reality.
I was thinking the other day about how much of our view of reality comes from television shows and movies, and yet these are all fabricated situations that are sometimes far from the real world. We even have to suspend our view of reality to be entertained by most shows that we watch, otherwise we would constantly be saying “that doesn’t happen in real life that way, and that wouldn’t be said, and things don’t turn out that way in reality, etc.”. This is dangerous and leads us to begin to view this false reality presented in movies and TV dramas as real life. We begin to measure our perception of reality based on what we have experienced in this false world of media. For example, I have heard of people comparing their boyfriend/girlfriend’s behavior to a movie character’s behavior and possibly rejecting them because they don’t measure up the character’s level.
Think of how it was only a relatively short time ago before television. People rarely experienced death and violence first hand, visually and audibly. People judged life based on what they experienced in real life, not from some fabricated and stylized rendition of reality.
We need to reduce our time absorbing the fake reality of movies and TV shows, and spend more time in the Word.
God’s word in the Scriptures is the standard of truth that we need to judge all truth by. How can we do this if we don’t know the Scriptures? We need to study and understand the word so that we can compare what is being said to the Scriptures and reject what doesn’t align. In the 17th chapter of the book of Acts in the Bible, there is a record of a group of Jews in Beroea who, after listening to the apostle Paul speak, went and searched the Scriptures to confirm and compare Paul’s message to the truths in the Scriptures.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if things were so. Many of them therefore believed…” Acts 17:11-12
Pray for Spiritual Discernment and Wisdom
The word “discern” comes from a root word meaning “to separate or distinguish between”. Discernment is defined as the ability to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. We have the aid of the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us truth. We need to pray for this aid. God is faithful to help us if we ask.
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit is available to us today:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16: 13
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name.” John 16:23
“If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with all knowledge and discernment” Philippians 1:9
Be Sensitive to your Conscience
As we pray for spiritual discernment and wisdom, we must also be sensitive to the inner voice of our conscience. God has given us this ability.
“They [Christian Gentiles] show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them…” Romans 2:15
The Scriptures also indicate that our conscience can be hardened or “seared”.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared….” 1 Timothy 4:1-2
We need to make sure that our conscience is soft and healed, and that we can easily follow its guidance. The Holy Spirit lives within us if we are of Christ. God’s Spirit can communicate with our spirit and we can then listen to our inner voice or conscience to gain guidance and understanding. We need to develop this ability. Take time to be quiet before the Lord and listen.
Be “Of the Truth”
When Jesus was standing before Pilate, shortly before He was condemned to be crucified, there was an interesting exchange between them where Jesus mentions the Truth. Pilate asks Jesus if He was a King and at one point Jesus replies:
“My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” John 18: 36
“Pilate said to Him, ‘so you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” John 18: 37-38
Most importantly, Jesus states that the person who is “of the truth” will hear His voice. This idea is repeated in various places in the Scriptures and aligns with what was reference earlier in John 8 that we should “continue in His Word”. Consider this also from John 8:
“He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47
If we do nothing else, we should make sure that we know what is meant by being “of God” and “of the truth” for ourselves. I believe it is clear that Jesus is saying that there is another true world and another true kingdom that He has come to reveal to us. We need to be a part of this in our hearts and in our thinking. We need to set our hope on this true world, and not on the false hopes of this world. We need to walk in alignment with the reality of the true world and true kingdom where Jesus is king, understanding also that He will be returning as King and destroying this temporary world and establishing His world and kingdom here. If we walk in this truth, we will hear God’s voice and we will know the truth.
It is interesting that Pilate asks “What is truth?” He is a wealthy, powerful, government official, and yet he doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying. We can rest assured that the world doesn’t know and can’t recognize truth, no matter who they are or how respected they are in the world’s system.
The real beauty of this is that this recognition and alignment with truth will produce freedom. The lies of Satan have us in bondage. Believing Satan’s lies has caused us to enter into sin in our lives, resulting in bondage. Removing the lies and replacing them with the truth will set us free. There will be freedom from the sin itself, when we can change our actions due to our putting to death the power of the flesh. There is the freedom from the guilt that is associated with our sins, due to the forgiveness we have from God as established by the blood of Jesus. There is the freedom from anxiety and stress resulting from our sin and the lies surrounding them. There is the freedom from the hopeless depression that results from the lies of this world. The truth will set you free!
This cursed world is controlled by Satan who is a liar and the father of all lies. It was a lie that started the cycle of sin and death though Adam and Eve in the garden. We are easily deceived and are in the habit of deceiving ourselves. Jesus came to set us free from the lies of this world. He is the truth, and He came into this world to show us the truth. We must embrace Him and the truth that He has revealed, living and walking in this truth, brainwashing ourselves with His Scriptures, and looking to the Holy Spirit and our conscience to guide us to the truth in our daily circumstances.
Jesus asked this of the Father for His followers shortly before He departed from this world:
“Sanctify them with the truth; Thy word is truth.” John 17:17
I believe that His desire is the same for us today.