Posts Tagged John 8: 32

True Freedom

John 8: 32

You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Jesus said that when we know the truth, that truth will set us free. What truth is it that will set you free? Does this sound simplistic? Perhaps it does but it reveals a deep truth that is often overlooked. Only the truth about you, will set you free. The truth about me will do little to change your life. We can learn from other people’s examples and that is incredibly valuable but what sets a person free is that truth about themselves which they accept in their innermost being, that truth which they allow to have a transformative impact.

You could go to a four day seminar and hear the truth all day long for the entire four days and never let one bit of it impact you. You may even sit there thinking about all the people you know who need to hear this wisdom. You will only get your money’s worth when you allow the truth to penetrate to your heart and hear what it means in your own life. A healthy self-esteem allows us to let Jesus speak to our hearts. When we are not secure, then these lessons become a threat. We don’t want to hear advice and teaching from others because it challenges our façade, threatening to reveal the real us which lies just below the thin mask we wear.

Another major revelation can be had by seeing this verse in context, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,”  (John 8: 31 – 32). Jesus spoke, here, to believers. Of course, even though they were Jewish, they were also converts. Jesus presented a new way of thinking. He told them how to become disciples. That is to continue in his word, which is a viable test of discipleship even ‘til today. There is more though, and it is important that we not miss the nexus between verse 31 and verse 32. You see here that the truth comes from the Word. If you continue in the Word and you allow that Word to speak to your heart, then you will not only prove yourselves disciples, but you will also set yourself free from the bondage of your past. When you meditate on this verse, it will grow such that you will see that it truly does have great power to set at liberty the captives, which, after all, is part of Jesus’ commission.

There is a distinct difference between reading the Word, studying the Word and allowing it to transform your life. Those of you who can say, “Amen” to that statement have experienced the soul shaking power of the Word. It penetrates even to the deepest parts, when we allow it, and heals the broken heart. It finds places within us where strong ropes of belief, misunderstanding and hurt have tied us down to living life within those restraints. Jesus meant for us to be free. He came to set us free and it is his word and the truth it reveals about us to us that breaks the yoke of bondage off of us.

Get real with yourself and with Jesus. It is not painful. He isn’t looking to tell you what a loser you are. You and others have done that plenty well enough already. Jesus wants you to know how loved and valuable you are. He wants to reveal lies you have believed which have kept you from the life he prepared for you. He wants to give you abundance. If you will allow him and his truth into the deepest, darkest recesses of your heart, he will heal the hurts and shine his light in your heart. It’s all good. Don’t be afraid.

Knowing Truth

John 8: 32

You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Jesus came to set us free and it is the truth which will set us free but it is not any old generic truth. First, it is in knowing that Jesus is the truth (John 14: 6). The second but equally important part of the equation is that it is the truth that you know which will set you free.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5: 1). You see, when we do not embrace the truth, then we subject ourselves to slavery. It is true. We fall victim to events in our past, lies we have believed, daily challenges, bad habits and on and on. We find it very difficult, if not impossible to rise above these situation which do, in fact, keep us bound to a life that is less than the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. We find ourselves repeatedly, falling short of our goals and dreams with few explanations. The ultimate reason our purposes are repeatedly frustrated is that there is a truth which we have yet to lay hold of.  However, the great news of Jesus, our beloved Messiah, is that in him is the very truth which we need to experience the breakthrough which will catapult us into everything he died to give us.

You will know the truth and when you do know and, importantly, embrace the truth you shall be set free. Sometimes, though, it is quite challenging for us to embrace truth. We have been living with the lies so long that while they keep us bound, at least they are the known factor. We have grown accustomed to them. Facing the truth can be scary. My friend, Pat Richards, who is the chief Heart Physics coach at Impact Ministries (www.impactministries.com) calls this resistance. It doesn’t mean that we are not sincere in our pursuit of truth. It is just the case that as we close in on it, there is resistance in our hearts to hearing the whole truth. It’s frightening. So, we run away. We shield ourselves from the potential discomfort of facing the bare truth.

Honestly, the fear is much bigger than the reality. I am sure you know people who have never had the courage to face their realities. I find this sad because I know that what we fear is much smaller and less painful than what we make it out to be. The fear of the truth is more painful than the truth. When we finally take that courageous leap into truth the response is always the same, “Hey, that wasn’t as bad as I expected.” Being trapped in the past, in our injuries or any of the myriad of circumstances which hold us back is much more painful.

Jesus wants us all to be free. When you sense that fear of moving forward, when your reaction to a situation is overly strong, or when you keep going around the same old mountain time and time again, then that is excellent evidence that you are encountering resistance to the metamorphic truth that Jesus is attempting to reveal to you. Trust me in this, he is gentle and his yoke is light. If you will invest all of your trust in him, he will, with nurturing grace, lead you into truth. Only knowing the truth as it applies to you can set you free. The revelation of truth about someone else’s situation might inform you, even enlighten you but it will not set you free. It’s Jesus in you, in your life, in every one of your situations that frees. It is the truth about what binds and conflicts you that will break the shackles off your life.

Trust our Lord. Go into that quiet space with him and allow him to show you all truth. Allow him to nurture you into wholeness and peace. There is so much he has for you, so much he longs to do for you and with you. It is all there. Don’t let any of it pass you by. The resistance is a sign. Let it lead you into a peaceful and safe yet revelation filled time with the Lord.

God is . . . joyful in truth

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 6

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.

I hope you are enjoying this series on the characteristics of God. We continue with 1 Corinthians 13, delving into the very nature of God. Our Father is a God of truth. Jesus taught us that the devil is the father of lies (John 8: 44). He said of himself “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). So, Jesus told us that he is the truth and we discover from 1 Corinthians 13 that God (love) rejoices with the truth. Well, that is a no-brainer when you put the pieces together like that. Of course the Father rejoices with the truth because the truth is Jesus.

This is why lying is one of the things God hates (Proverb 6: 16 – 19). You can see why. Not only is Jesus the truth but Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, when people lie it is almost like worshiping the devil. It truly is choosing his lifestyle over Jesus’.

God rejoices in the truth and so should we. It isn’t always easy to tell the truth. I think we are afraid of the consequences of telling the truth but when you think this through, it becomes clear that the consequences of lying are higher. One cannot abide in Jesus and not also abide in truth. God speaks truth and in the truth there is freedom and power. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8: 32). It seems obvious that God would rejoice in truth because love will always want you free. Abide in the truth. Abide in Jesus and rejoice with the Father.

Love and Truth

1 John 4: 7

God is love.

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.”

There is an intersection between truth and love. Perhaps a better analogy would be of a cord or rope that is made by twisting several threads together. Love and truth are a part of one whole. They go together. There can be no truth apart from love because Jesus is the truth and God is love. They must go hand in hand.

I have been learning this lesson the hard way for quite a number of years now. I hope I now have it. Because I have always valued truth so highly I thought other people did too. In my paradigm there is no knowledge without truth. I didn’t want to be wrong so I was willing to accept the truth. I have lived in a world where I was happy to be taught something outside my present reality because I was in search of truth and knowledge. I could be corrected because I was after actual truth, not just my version of it. I have learned, though, that most people are not like me. Most of us have a real investment in being right. And many times we are happy in our delusions and misinformation so we don’t thank a person who teaches us otherwise. We certainly don’t applaud them for correcting us. 

Truth apart from love does not set people free. I labored under the delusion that truth alone will set people free but that is not what the Bible says. It says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 32). You see, it is only the truth that you hear that will set you free. People will only be able to receive the truth when it is spoken with love. So before we try to correct people, we must first love them. I wish we could just speak the naked truth and people adopt it and change but it just doesn’t work that way. Our criticisms, verdicts and censures are preventing the truth from being heard. We are preaching the law of death, judgment and condemnation when we ought to be preaching the message of love and reconciliation. The law kills. Only love sets free. 

No matter what we think of another person’s lifestyle, even when it seems clear that they are in violation of Biblical principles, there is only one approved approach and that is to love them. We have created a society where few people really feel like they fit in. I am shocked by the number of people who tell me that they have felt like a square peg in a round hole. I look at them and think they fit but they have lived in a system of condemnation rather than acceptance so that they don’t feel approved. They constantly feel abnormal and rejected. It is so easy to identify what we believe is someone’s fault, sin or error. Why do we find it so much more difficult to applaud what they do right? And besides that, why can’t we love them just because they are children of God? Maybe our damage is showing. 

I had a situation where someone I knew was involved in adultery. I had the worst time trying to accept them because they continued in the adultery. I mean that one is on God’s Top Ten List. I could point to it and say, “I know that is wrong.” It turns out, though, that it was not my job to pass judgment, even in the case where the Bible was clear. Only Jesus has been given the right to judge. My job is to love. I mean, read the book. How many times did Jesus tell us not to judge but rather to love others? So the bottom line is that no matter how much we disapprove of another’s way of living or their actions, it has not been given to us to correct them. Jesus has given us the job of loving every single person on this earth. This is what I call “Adult Christianity” because this isn’t easy but we who want to be mature must grow up in it. We must do what is difficult. We cannot judge a person into Christianity but we sure can love them into it. Love is the greatest power there is and it draws all people unto itself. If you want to abide in truth, you must first abide in love. Truth without love is just dressed up condemnation and rejection. Let us not be masters of that. Be known as a person of great love. That is a high and worthy ambition.

You Shall Know Me

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.           John 8: 32 

I am … the truth.                          John 14: 6 
If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.              John 8: 36 
Truth and freedom are all in one nice package; Jesus. If we will come to know Jesus who is the truth, the life and the way, then we shall at last experience true freedom and the peace which comes with it.

Jesus longs for us to come to know him in truth. He came into the earth to bring us back into close fellowship with the Father and he, Jesus, is the way to that close, personal fellowship. This is a key difference between Christianity and all the world religions. It also marks a significant departure from the Old Testament ways. It is not at all different, however, from how it was in the beginning when God first created humanity. Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the cool of the evening. Can you imagine taking an evening stroll through the garden with God? Can you see Him reach out and put His arm around you as you walk along the little stream that flows through the garden? Just as you cross over a little footbridge there is a bench and the two of you sit and visit. Maybe you don’t talk about anything important today. Perhaps some bugs draw your attention and you watch them. Can you imagine watching ants work while you sit and watch them with the one who created them? What might you say to Him? I suppose it would be a very interesting conversation. Before a few sentences pass I bet He will reveal some dazzling information about when He made the ant or some profound wisdom He draws from their example. Can you see the peace and joy that you experience as you sit there with your beloved Father? And Jesus looks upon the two of you and says, “It was all worth it.” Glory, Hallelujah! It is for that reunification, for that walk in the garden that both Jesus and God gave all. It is for this complete freedom in your spirit and the complete relaxation of your personality that all was done.

We read in Galatians 5: 1 that it was for freedom that Jesus set us free. This is a strange sentence, isn’t it? But it really does make a good point. Jesus did not suffer all that he endured just so that we can continue to live in bondage. We may answer Paul like the Jews answered Jesus in the eighth chapter of John saying that surely we are not in bondage. Are we not free people? Jesus said that anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Likewise, many of us are slaves to a variety of things. Perhaps we are bound by a bad temper when Christ has told us that we are to be gentle. Maybe there are still fetters on us from our past and we still react in ways that are not our free choice but rather spontaneous responses when certain buttons are pushed. Jesus is telling us that he came to set us free from all of that. Here is the key, though. This freedom, this life in Christ does not come from saying the sinner’s prayer. It comes through renewing the mind (Romans 12: 2). We must abandon self and come into close unity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You know, we have the promise that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us (James 4: 8) and God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19). That is a good word. Has He not said it, will He not do it (ibid). We think we are waiting on God to make a move in our lives but the truth is that He is waiting for us to draw nigh to Him and then He will draw unto us. He will not violate the free will that He has given us, so our relationship with Him is always in our hands. We have and can have whatever relationship we choose. I should warn you, though, this is not a decision that we can make in our minds. A quality decision of this magnitude can only be implemented by the heart. Your heart holds the keys. So even if your mind says, “Yeah, I want that kind of intimacy with the Father”, only your heart can open the doors and let Him in. When you do, though, in rushes freedom and overcoming love.

I pray that you find the strength of heart, the courage of soul, and the conviction of mind to reach out to your beloved Father and draw Him into the deepest folds of your being. I pray that you will be liberated from every tie which seeks to bind you to a life that is in any measure less than what God intended for you. May the truth set you free indeed.