Truth

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

I have this quote beneath my profile picture on Facebook. I have put it there in the hopes that when people read it, it might plant a seed somewhere in their hearts and souls. This quotes points out a very harsh truth. It is a truth I have tried to bend, twist, break, and downright ignore at different points in my life. And just so you will stop guessing, the bitter truth this quote points out is that there is Truth. There is Truth in this world; a divine Truth that Jesus spent his life teaching, and a truth that Jesus was tortured to give to us. And I am completely, shamefully, humbled by how often I pass by the magnitude of this one simple fact that we all strive so hard to complicate. There is Truth. Jesus is that truth. Our Christ is the way, the Truth, and the life.

This world is literally hell bent on trying to convince us, and itself, that there is no such thing as truth. I once bought into that; I had a ticket on that train and enjoyed all the wines it provided in first class. I have told people that truth is completely subjective. That my truth is not the same truth as anyone else’s because it is my own. I had convinced myself, and therefore tried to convince others that truth is based on your own perception and life experiences. I cringe at how deeply I bought into that lie. I shudder to think of the hearts and souls I might have convinced of my own bull pucky.

I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. I don’t care what the world says. I don’t care what I used to say. I am coming to a point in my life where I can no longer excuse the lies and hope for the best. And I am ready to stand with my Lord and Savior. I am finally comfortable with the way people rail at me. I no longer feel the urge to rail back. I am ready, and willing, to stand with only the most powerful written words in all of history – The Holy Bible – at my back. I don’t need this worlds sciences and man’s discoveries to tell me that what is written in the Bible is True. Jesus told me that. Jesus told me He is the truth.

There is only one True God and He is the Great I Am. He is the God of Abraham and Isaac. He created the world in seven days. God did not create the world millions and billions of years ago. God created man first, in His image. Woman was created to be man’s companion. We are all decedents of Adam and Eve. The Almighty wiped out all the world, save for Noah’s family, in a flood that covered the entire planet. Our God produced the plagues of Egypt. My God parted the Red Sea and gave manna from the heavens. I do believe Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to my Savior. I do believe Jesus is the Son of God. I do believe in every miracle Jesus performed. And I know, without a doubt, that I was in Christ’s heart when He was up there on that cross. He died for my sins. He allowed himself to be tortured, beaten, and crucified for me. And for you. He knew we would be alive one day and He did this for us. For all of us. For me. And I believe the only way, the only way, to get into Heaven to be with God for all eternity is through Jesus Christ.

I believe these things because Jesus is the Truth. I do not believe Jesus lies. He taught the multitudes the Old Testament. If Jesus is the Truth I do not believe He would teach out of a book that was false. Christ Jesus is the Son of God and God does not make mistakes. I know this. In my heart and soul I know this is Truth. I know Jesus is Truth.

The knowing is a struggle at times, but the consequences for me are much harder. In knowing that my Lord and Savior is Truth; and that all He says is true, terrifies me. I know too many people who think their good works will earn them God’s favor. I know too many people who say, “I’m a good person. If there is a heaven God will let me in because I’ve lived a good life.” I was once one of those people. I was once convinced that as long as a person lived a good life, did good things, and was generally a good person that they would find their way into heaven. I want to believe that so I will see them in heaven.

The Truth is you have to have a ‘ticket’ to get into Heaven. To be with the Father. And we can’t buy those tickets. No amount of money, no amount of good works, no amount of shallow obedience and false worship will buy you that ticket. The Truth is Christ’s blood bought those tickets. You can only get a ticket into Heaven through the blood of Christ. Jesus repeatedly tells us this. He says it plainly in the quote above. No one goes to the Father unless they know Christ. And you can’t know Christ if you haven’t accepted the Truth of who He is. And that terrifies me.

It terrifies me because if you do not spend eternity in Heaven that leaves only one other place. Hell. If you are not with God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost you are really only with one other person. And that is the Truth. Jesus came down to this world to spread the Truth to save us for the next life, not this earthly life. He came to give us the Truth of eternity, to save us from ourselves so when everything comes to an end we will have a home in Heaven.

And that is the Truth because that is what Jesus has taught us. Anyone and everyone can argue, rail, and curse at the Truth all the want. It doesn’t change the fact it is Truth. Nothing I can do or say changes the Truth. Nothing anyone can do or say can change the Truth. And if for your multitude of reasons you turn your back on the Truth, choose not to believe the Truth; that doesn’t make the Truth any less real nor does it excuse you from being held accountable for the Truth. It is True whether or not you believe it.

Christ did not come to this world to allow for variations or perceptions. He did not come down and suffer all that He suffered to have a wishy washy line of what is needed to spend all eternity with Him. Christ came to this world, and suffered all the stench of sinful humanity to save us from ourselves. He said it multiple times. He has stated it clearly in so many places in the Gospel. But none more simply and succinctly than in that quote above. If you believe in Christ, and know Jesus is not a liar. We therefore have to accept His truth. No one gets into Heaven unless they pass through the blood Christ Jesus spilled for us.

We can’t make up excuses to bend that truth. I can’t make up perceptions and alternatives for what my Savior has told me is true. It shatters my heart to know I will not see many of the people I know in Heaven with me. Unless I do something about it. Unless I stop making excuses to make the Will of my Savior ‘nicer’ or ‘prettier’ or more ‘pc’. Jesus did not come down to indulge our selfish ways. He came down to show us a better way. A way that will lead to everlasting life in Heaven.

So if I just sit here, sheltered in the blood of Christ, mourning the loss of those I love …do I really hold the Truth of Christ in my heart? Will I be able to stand before God and say I did my best? If I met my Holy Father today could I honestly do anything than fall on my face in shame?

I want you to know the Truth of Christ. I want you to know I am a horrific sinner just like you. I want you to be washed clean every second of every day because Jesus bought you a ticket. He bought you a ticket with a seat right beside mine. And I want you to be on this train. I want you to know the Truth. This Truth reaches beyond this world, beyond our skin, beyond the marrow of our bones to resonate in the deepest places of ourselves. I want you to share in this feast for the soul.

I can’t care what the world says or feels. I can’t be timid or afraid of your rage and hatred of me because of this Truth. I can’t fear your offense. Too much is at stake. Jesus spoke the Truth. He is the way, the Truth, and the life. And you cannot meet the Father, or spend forever with me in Heaven, unless I tell you this Truth. Unless I bring the Truth of Christ right to you. Because I love you.

I am ready to walk in the light of Truth. I’ll probably screw it up now and again. But I know it’s okay. Because you are worth the effort. All of you are worth the effort. Christ, the living Truth and Light of this world, was not above serving you and laying down His life for you. What kind of Saint and Disciple would I be if I only wrote about His Truth, and did not live it as well? Not a very good one I assure you.

So please. I know what the world says. I know what society says. I know what my own selfish heart has said in the past. There is a Truth. There is One True God. He is the Creator of everything. He gave you a manual on how to live your life. He gave you His only Son as the perfect Teacher who lived as one of us. Don’t believe the Truth because I say it is True. Pick up a Bible. Read the Holy Words with an open heart. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. And I’ll try much harder to offer all that I can to help you reach His Truth.

“Count it all joy”

 

“(1) James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
(2) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
(5) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
(7) For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:1-7)

 

It is the third word in that catches me and holds me with shame. You see James was not only a high priest of the Church, but he was also the biological brother of Jesus. James knew things, stories, about Jesus we will never know because they grew up together. Very few humans that have ever walked this earth can say that they were not only a high priest in Jesus’ Church, but that they were siblings of our Christ as well.

What blows my mind is what he does with this rare position of his. James throws it away. He proclaims himself a bondservant of his Savior, of his Brother. A servant. How many times have I addressed myself as a follower of Christ? A follower has a much loftier status than a servant. A follower has a right to question and to judge. A servant is obedient. A servant does not question his/her Master. A servant is not equal to his/her Master.

So which am I? Am I equal to Jesus? Do I have a right to question Him or judge His teachings? My free will, a very gift from God, say that I do; but my heart tells me different. When I accented Jesus as my Lord and Savior I gave up my free will, willing, and chose to be a servant of Christ. So why then do I still think of myself as a follower? Pride. The root of all evil.

Today’s world tries to convince me that I am no one’s servant. That servitude is wrong. So often the world tries to build me up as if I were a god myself; or that I could somehow find equal ground with the One true God; the God of Abraham; God the Father of our savior Jesus Christ. But the world is wrong. The Holy Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost–is so far beyond our comprehension. I can never be equal to Him. I am the servant of Jesus Christ. I am the servant of God the Father. I am the servant of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because I love them and there is no room for pride in love.

(2) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

That love, that surrender, and that servitude does not exclude me from hardships. I do not get a free pass and an easy life because I choose to devout my heart and soul to the living Christ. I can’t even say I wish it did. This last year has been pretty bad for me; but there is little I would change. Each hardship has taught me something new. Every rough turn in my life has enabled me to help another swim through their own rough waters. In all my nuggets of pain I have found blessings that I can count as joy.

God did not put these trials on me. He didn’t instigate my pain or these rough waters. God is a good God. Those rough waters were coming my way and Christ stepped in to give me aid. He kept my head afloat. He made the bad times worth it due to the blessings I gout out of them. It was only through the power of Christ I was able to keep my peace. Through it all I was able to find a smile-sometimes through tears-and know it would all be okay.

I don’t think I counted enough joy in this last year. I know my own self-pity, frustrations, and pain kept me from seeing all the ways in which Jesus carried me, and God blessed me. I know I missed many chances to allow the Holy Spirit to work through me. I am trying to change that. It isn’t something easily changed. It requires a lot of two things: patience and trust. Something a servant should have their Master in spades.

(3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

In a world filled with immediate gratification Patience is nearly impossible to find in people any more. I am often guilty of wanting things in my time, when I want them, and exactly how I want them. God, thankfully, doesn’t act according to my schedule and plan. He has His own. This very fact makes it very easy to slip into a “God why are you doing this to me” mindset. When we experience hardships, pain, and suffering it is so easy to blame God. It is true that He has the power to do anything so He could have altered everything to make it so you did not have to suffer. And I think the truth is God often does this. Think of all the ‘close calls’ you and your loved ones have had.

It can’t always be like that. If it were like that we would live in a perfect world. We don’t. Adam and Eve introduced sin into this world. And sin has been destroying it since then. It isn’t God’s fault when bad things happen; it is sin. Our sin, someone else’s sin, or just the fact that the world is no longer perfect and in the evil born out of the Fall of man some really nasty things were given life. So many diseases that aren’t God’s fault. But discussing the whole pointing fingers thing is an entirely different story.

The point I want to make is that God isn’t the cause; He is the solution. He is the light at the end of the tunnel. When bad things happen people find themselves in despair, lost and forgotten, because they didn’t have the patience to wait faithfully for God’s solution. Remember God does not work in our time. He works in His own time. Sometimes our own misery drags on longer than it should because we don’t turn to God soon enough, quick enough, often enough. We don’t have the faith in His goodness. We don’t have the patience for His time and His healing. I want it now. I want it my way.

This year has taught me so much patience. Now my patience isn’t perfect, but it does have a perfect work. It does work perfectly in me when I choose to practice it. That doesn’t mean my patience is flawless. What I am saying is that when I find my patience in my faith what happens inside me is perfect. When I find my patience in my faith I feel such peace. I am perfectly at ease. I no longer struggle or despair; I curl up against the chest of my Savior while He carries me through the thorns. The sense of peace is astounding.

Having patience in hardships isn’t about giving up. It isn’t about saying whatever will happen will happen. Because I am patient doesn’t mean I am completely resigned to accept whatever hardships come my way. My patience in my faith in Christ’s love and God’s goodness is a choice. It is a decision to look on it with the positive and loving light that no matter what happens I fully believe it will happen better in the end because of God. And I am willing to wait for that end to this storm with my Lord. It is about me being steadfast in the knowledge that God will handle things. Jesus will hold up His hand to calm my seas. I just need to wait for it, and to show Him I am willing to surrender my life until His hands.

 

(5) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

My decision of faithful patience didn’t come to me easily. Sometimes I still often struggle with it. I don’t have to struggle alone; thankfully. I often have to ask God for help. I often pray for the wisdom, faith, patience, and trust to rely fully on Him. I know He will give them to me. I know He will supply me with everything I need. I know this because of the above passage. It is just one of countless others that tells me the goodness of God.

He doesn’t negotiate. He gives liberally and easily. If wisdom and faith were skittles God wouldn’t keep His favorite colors to himself. When you asked for skittles He wouldn’t just give you one or two. God wouldn’t just pour a handful of skittles into your hand. God doesn’t just give you one bag of skittles and calls it good either. If you ask our Lord, in full faith, for ‘skittles’ you will find countless buckets of those rainbow colors all around you. There would be no end to them.
God only asks for one thing in return. Only one thing.

(6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
(7) For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God only desires for us to believe Him when He tells us He is a good God. He asks for our faith. How trusting does it sound for us to ask, “God please give me the strength to get through this, but I doubt you will.” We might not say the last part, but God can see into our hearts and be wounded by the doubts that rest there. How can any of us claim to have a passionate faith when we don’t trust what we have faith in?

God made the world in six days. God covered the entire world in the grate flood. God parted the red sea. Jesus performed countless miracles. Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead after he had been dead for four days. Jesus rose from the grave. The Holy Spirit moves inside you. Our Lord and Savior specializes in the impossible. He created this entire universe and all its natural laws. He has broken and ignored those laws countless times. If we have faith, and if we believe, everything the Bible teaches ..why should my small, tiny life be so impossible for Him to fix?

I am not beyond the reach of my Savior. My life, my hardships are not too much for Him to handle. I am not too small, too unimportant, for my God to notice. He loves me. He loves me specifically with a love so intense I can’t comprehend it. He will answer my prayers if I just trust in Him to do so. If I can only manage patience to wait for His glory to shine through. Because it isn’t about my time. I am not a follower of my God and Savior who can make demands and question His authority. I am a servant. I am obedient. I am trusting. And I have faith that my Master will not lead me astray or let me wander in the high, rocky places of life like a lost lamb.