For quite some time now God has been speaking to me about the importance of truth. At the beginning of this year a few of my trusted prophetic friends believed that the Spirit of truth was on the move in the church and I was inclined to agree with them.
Over the last 15 years we have had a revelation sweep across the churches worldwide about the Fathers love and the grace of the cross. We will always be in need of that revelation and personally I never tire of letting that knowledge sink deeper and deeper into my inner being.
Recently however I believe that God is sending the Holy Spirit in a specific way to the church to raise up a forgotten hero – Truth.
Truth’s checkered history
I think truth has had a pretty bad rap in the last few years both in society and the church. It’s just not cool anymore. There’s a generation growing up that are treating it as something that they can pick up when they feel like it. It’s a far cry from the biblical wisdom of proverbs which says; ‘Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.’
So why has this happened? Why is Truth such an unattractive virtue?
Unfortunately we’ve witnessed some people of the ‘truth’ model something ugly within the church. Truth has in some cases been pursued on its own without the other great Godly virtues like love or grace alongside it. Often people of the ‘truth’ have had little compassion or joy as they’ve carried fervency for ‘what’s right!’
We’ve also seen ‘truth’ be the reason for division in the church. In denominationalism we have seen people continuously leave over what they believe is true. Truth you could say has (wrongly) been used as grounds for divorce in the body of Christ.
And then of course in society truth has been picked apart and questioned in a great philosophical debate. Truth has become subjective and relative. My generation have grown up in a culture which isn’t even sure that objective truth exists – quite a hard pill to swallow for followers of a man who said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’
How can we expect the next generation to have a passion for truth if this is what they’ve experienced?
The most important thing to say, in light of this checkered history, is that we need to make sure we respond well and recast the vision for why truth matters. One of my hero’s Bill Johnson says, ‘reaction to error usually produces error’. In this case, just because we have witnessed truth misused we simply can’t afford to over-react and ignore what the Bible says about truth. Scripture has a whole lot to say about truth and it isn’t always culturally relevant. But it is inspiring and it does give us vision for why truth is important for us to pursue, guard and live out as Christians.
What does the Bible say about Truth?
Well, apart from warning us about the perils of not having it (2 Thessalonians 2:9/Romans 2:8), the bible says that;
- Favor comes from people who pursue truth; ‘Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.’Proverbs 16:13
- Redemption becomes possible for cities; ‘Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.’Jeremiah 5:1
- Truth is part of our spiritual weaponry; ‘Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.’Ephesians 6:14
- Love is friends with it; ‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.’1 Corinthians 13:6
I think that’s a pretty awesome vision for why truth matters and should matter to us.
Let’s look to the future not the past
We’ve got to figure out how to live in such a way where truth and love are married. We cannot let go of truth under the name of ‘love’ and we cannot speak ‘truth’ without loving. It’s as simple or as complicated as that!
One of the things that God has been speaking to me about this year is how virtues/gifts/ministries become their most powerful when they are held together.
The biggest strategy of the devil is division. We often talk about this in terms of people or churches. But I think he tries to divide virtues,gifts and ministries too. If these stand alone they can be rendered powerless or at least less powerful that if they are held together.
I absolutely love the description of Jesus in the book of Colossians
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Jesus doesn’t pick and choose
We have got used to prioritizing virtues, gifts and ministries above others in the church today. I think it’s because of a poverty mentality – you begin prioritizing when you feel there’s not enough. In our churches its often either all about mission, or all about prayer, or all about signs and wonders, or all about love, or all about truth etc. We pick our favourites. But when we look at the life of Jesus he didn’t feel the need to separate any of the above – He held all things together. One gift would fuel the other, the great virtues would hold hands – and that’s the way it’s meant to be.
I am praying my socks off for this next generation – I want them to be more like Jesus than the church has ever been – a generation that manages to hold all things together. Daring to seek truth in a secular society while wholeheartedly living in abundant joy and expressing the Fathers love to all they meet. Vibrant, free, courageous lovers of God loving the World. Spirit of truth, have your way!