Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Freeing Power of Truth

“To the Jews who had believed him, 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.’” (John 8:31-32 NIV)

I can still remember sitting in the office of one of my seminary professors almost wailing in grief over the break-up with my girlfriend. She was the love of my life and I was having a very hard time coping with the thought of living without her.  As I began to catch my breath, he asked me, “Jim, have you given this over to God?”  I think I muttered a “yes,” but it wasn’t true.  And it was months later before I would acknowledge the truth.  In the meantime, I struggled with school and with depression.  

Then one day, after a very tough morning, I exploded.  I screamed at God with great fury.  Why had he taken away the woman I loved?  Why was my life such a mess?  It was not fair!  And after my fury was spent, I sat, emotionally exhausted.  Then I heard these words in my mind, “Shirley is your idol.”  The truth had been spoken and at that moment, I owned it.  I had been in denial for months and had been in bondage to my idolatry. My girlfriend was more important than the Lord and my relationship with Him suffered as a result. When I was finally willing to tell the truth, I was set free. The depression began to wane, I finished strong in school, and I began to grow again spiritually.

I tell that story because so many of us hide behind lies.  Working with students, I see this frequently.  They want to portray an image of a solid believer, so they hide behind spiritual language.  They seek to sound like they are growing spiritually when nothing much is happening at all. Or they have consistent sin in their lives they’re unwilling to confess, such as pornography or an impure romantic relationship.  Even when directly asked, they will deny anything is wrong with how they are living.  
They think they are keeping up an impressive image, when in reality they are enslaving themselves to the father of lies.  Through their lies, he weakens them spiritually, deprives them of joy and peace, and blinds them to the freeing power of the truth.  

And it is not just college students.  Adults in churches are guilty of the same thing.  So many wear the mask of spirituality on Sundays, but the rest of the week is a different story.  So many pretend life is going well, but behind the façades are aching hearts.  

Why is it so hard to admit to the truth of our lives?  All of us fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so why are we bent on leading people to believe we are better than we are?  It’s that age-old sin of pride.  It is just too humbling to admit we are not as good as we are pretending to be.  But by refusing to acknowledge the truth, we keep ourselves in perpetual bondage.  

Today, if there is a lie you are hiding behind, know you are in bondage to it.  And the only way to free yourself is to admit the truth.  Confess to God and confess to other believers what is really going on.  Though it may scare you to do so, you will be amazed at how free you will become and the growth that will result.

© Jim Musser 2017

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