“And you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free…” Jesus said these words to a skeptical crowd who were no strangers to the desire for freedom. Their carefully tracked heritage and traditions were slowly being dissolved away by Roman rule, and their monotheistic beliefs were raided more often than their homes by a multitude of gods with more freedom in their requirements. For us too today, what merit do these words have? Our culture has been, for the most part, one that rewards us for holding Christian views. That’s all at risk of course, but many don’t seem to notice because they are distracted by their phones/tv or the worries that are advertised to them on every billboard. Does truth still set us free?
As a community we are just completing a study on patience in suffering and new beginnings in Christ. The advice of the apostles are for us to cling to the Truth of God’s promises until they are all fulfilled. Promises such as that he will bring justice to his people and punish evil among others are to be our hope in dark times. Understand however, that our freedom is not on the waiting list. It isn’t impacted by our culture or the size of our congregation either. No, our freedom is based on knowing the truth, but we are set free by living in that truth!
The truth sets us free because the truth gives us crystal clear vision as we try to follow Jesus through this decaying world.
When tomorrow I may be fired for believing Christ, then I want to hide my faith. But when I know the truth that God is my provider (Matt. 6) I can speak boldly about him without worry about my family’s well-being. If my marriage seems empty or my singleness seems hopeless, then I get desperate and start to find ways out, even if they compromise my beliefs. But when I know that my persistence in seeking peace with my spouse or that using this time in my life that I’m single is an opportunity find my fullness in God, then I won’t compromise when tempted to do so.
The truth sets us free because the truth gives us crystal clear vision as we try to follow Jesus through this decaying world. If Jesus were here to repeat these words again to us, would you believe them? Better yet, would you use them to seek freedom? I hope so, because there’s no other way.
-Devin & Sarah Q.
What standard do you hold yourself to? The standard of your co-workers or your neighbors? Or perhaps it is the standard of your parents or your older siblings? Maybe it is even one of your heroes (real or fictional) or simply just your neighbor who seems to always be a step ahead of you? For most of my life my standards were defined by my peers and often placed my goals out of reach. I especially remember a time in 4th grade where I was the fastest runner in my class…right behind Mark Cox. Mark’s dad was a coach, so naturally when I played baseball, basketball, and even soccer…there was Mark Cox to steal the gold as his dad cheered him on. Mark and I weren’t enemies then or now, but I remember this aspect of our relationship more than anything else because I think that dynamic is what motivated me to strive to be better.
Just like Mark Cox challenged me, Christ challenges us to “…consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Heb. 10:24) In fact, when we serve in God’s family (the Church), he surrounds us with people who are better than us to stir up our competitive spirits and challenge us to do better, to be better. The difference between it becoming a rat race and iron sharpening iron requires that we understand a simple fact. As we mature in our faith we challenge one another, but we do not do it to become like one another. Our standard is not to be like a worship leader, a pastor, or an evangelist. It is to be like Jesus Christ. As we continue with our series on New Beginnings, we hope that you are surrounding yourself with those who challenge you. More than that though, we pray that you are looking towards the ultimate standard perfectly laid out before in you Christ.
-Devin & Sarah Q.