"Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, 'You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32, NLT) How often have you had the thought, "If only they knew the truth about ___, then they would change"? I’ve had those thoughts in regard to neighbors accepting Christ; friends with destructive behaviors; acquaintances who are deceived by various philosophies and religions… It just seems like knowing the truth is the key. However, if you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, you’ve probably learned like I have that the truth alone doesn’t change us.
I’ve studied the life of Solomon this year, and I find it heartbreaking how his life ended. On one hand I can think, "Well, even the wisest man made mistakes." On the other hand, I want to believe that knowing the truth is enough. I want to put my hope in knowing the truth. If I just know enough, I’ll be safe. However, Solomon was wise. He knew the truth, and yet, that didn’t keep him from sinning in some major ways. He had amazing success in his life, but when he died he left a people steeped in idolatry and feeling oppressed.
In my self-righteousness, it’s easy to say, "Solomon, what were you doing?" I want to claim John 8:32 that the truth will set me free, but again I am reminded of all the ways I’m stuck in selfishness, greed, pride…even though I know the truth. What I’m lacking is what Jesus says in John 8:31, "…if you remain faithful to My teachings." It takes wisdom and intention on my part—faithfulness to Jesus’ teaching—to apply the truth to move toward freedom.
But my faithfulness is hit or miss. Thankfully He is always calling me back to the Truth, to Jesus. The key is not just knowing the truth, but knowing the Truth and spending time with Him. His filling, through the Holy Spirit, empowers my feeble efforts to move me toward transformation and freedom.
Warmly in Christ, Joy McAuley
For Reflection: "I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:21-25, NLT)
When you read through this passage in Romans, what resonates with you? Is there a specific area that God is bringing to mind where a war is waging with your mind?
What helps you turn to the Truth when you’re in the midst of a struggle with the "power within you that is at war with your mind"?
What disciplines has God used in your life to bring transformation and freedom?