I spoke last week about the FREEDOM we experience through abiding in and keeping our focus on the TRUTH!
Jesus says we will know the TRUTH and the truth will set us FREE (John 8:32). That’s been my theme this month. He also says HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and nobody comes to the Father, except through Him (John 14:6). That has by far been one of the most contentious and misunderstood verses in the Bible! If we know Him, we experience truth, because He is truth. “WWJD” is not just a 90s cliché, but a goal we can aspire to. We can see in this verse that He is establishing His authority in saying He is truth. But what does this really mean and how do we have a level playing field in Christ?
If HE is the way, the truth, and the life, and we know the Father through Him, then knowing Him is supreme. The plumbline emanates from Jesus. We learn about true life and character through spending time with and learning from Him. He teaches love, He teaches servant leadership, He shows us how to be truly human. We see Him perform miracles, and we can realize, if we choose to, that He invites us to the same epic life (John 14:12). Life is not limited in Him. As I said last week, He gives true freedom when we worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Then, truth is found in seeking Christ. You are not going to necessarily need to lay down your life or die for Him, though He does talk about that a lot in the Gospels (see Luke 9:23-26, for example). You will find yourself wanting to lay down your desires, hangups, tendencies, addictions, temptations, problems, all to get closer and closer to Him. You must be willing to put Him first; after all, He says in Matthew 6:33 that if you do, everything will be added to you. EVERYTHING. You may not see somethings in the word “everything,” but as I stated last week, God acts consistent with His character, so that will not mean absolutely EVERYTHING. It will mean everything GOOD and OF HIM (James 1:17) because, in Him, everything that can be shaken, WILL be shaken (Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:21-22). The good thing is if we are with Him, WE will not be shaken. There is freedom in the confidence we gain from that. So that’s how this connects to last week’s blog post, HERE.
So, how does that grant us a level playing field?
Friend, I’m glad you asked. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so the most put-together individual out there who does everything right can be leveled out alongside the individual who screwed up or feels like a screw-up. If truth is the standard, and the truth shall set you free, you know what the rules are to the game. Everyone who knows the rules can play.
As I waded through 2020-2022, observing humanity, I noticed that for so many of us the rules were confusing, unclear. That could have been an accident, or it could have been intentional. Imagine how uneven it is if some know the rules and others don’t. I saw that repeatedly during the pandemic! A shut down situation seemed to also illuminate lots about human nature, much because when we are pressed, we show who we are on the inside. That reflects whether we have a “my truth, your truth” or “THE truth” mentality.
If we truly choose to adopt a mentality that recognizes and honors the fact that truth is truth, truth points us to God, Jesus is THE truth, and “relative truth” is a mutually exclusive concept, we start to recognize that the rules that exist apply to everyone. Very simply, that levels the playing field for us. The rules are the same no matter who you are.
If you play a sport, you recognize the value of equally applied rules. A friend was recently telling me about a playoff game that her favorite hockey team was playing. Refs seemed to be inconsistently applying the rules, calling fouls on her team when they didn’t do anything wrong, and letting the other team get away with plays that should have gotten penalties. By the second half of the game, the fans were just baffled. Nothing was predictable, and so the fans were confused and didn’t know what to expect.
I think we don’t want to believe it, but we live in a world where rules are being applied like the game refs are calling life. Some people have one way of doing things and others have another way. When we know what the rules are, the game is clear, and rules are EXPECTED to play out a certain way.
Jesus levels the field for us. In fact, those who are religious might have a higher expectation than others. But really, Jesus clears the plays and applies the rules of life to everyone. Jesus calls all to the same regard for Him, ourselves, and others. There are no exceptions. In fact, to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48), so for those of us who do find ourselves on the side of Truth, we realize the standard is very specific and narrow. It’s simple to get off track. You tell one lie, and you cannot say, for example, “I do not lie.” Such is the path of consecration and holiness.
How do you know what those are? If you can discern the rules of life, would you write 1-2 below, and how do you know they are rules of life?