Truth Removes What Hinders Love
My mom once shared her faith with a lady outside a grocery store. As they were putting their groceries into their neighboring cars, my mom told the woman, “Jesus loves you.” The woman said, “Thank you so much. So many people have told me that lately.” My mom felt called to respond, “Jesus wants you to love Him back.” That seven-word sentence changed the trajectory of that woman’s life forever. She started attending our church, was overwhelmed by the love and support she felt there, and was soon set free from decades of abuse and sinful habits. She now travels and speaks and writes about the freedom she found in the truth of Jesus. But
she had to be confronted with truth. Jesus loves you, but are you loving Him back?
The love chapter in Corinthians tell us that
love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. — 1 Corinthians 13:6
Just as love and kindness and patience and the other fruit of the Spirit are inseparable from each other, so truth is connected to love.
Walking in the truth of Jesus is simply loving God in all the ways He first loved us. Billy Graham has said,
This generation finds it difficult to believe that God hates sin. I tell you that God hates sin just as a father hates a rattlesnake that threatens the safety and life of his child. God loathes evil and diabolic forces that would pull people down to a godless eternity just as a mother hates a venomous spider that is found playing on the soft, warm flesh of her little baby. It is His love for man, His compassion for the human race that prompts God to hate sin with such a vengeance.1
What a perspective changer!
God’s truth keeps us away from sin for a very good reason: sin keeps us from life, real love, lasting joy, peace, and wholeness. Sin keeps us from God, where we find all those things in abundant measure.
Truth Sets Us Free
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
The truth of Jesus is not some bondage to keep you from the life you want to live. The truth of Jesus sets you free. It’s liberating! Likewise, Paul told Timothy about the freedom that can be experienced in Jesus,
He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. — 1 Timothy 2:6 NLT
Living in truth means walking in freedom you wouldn’t otherwise know.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1
Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. — Romans 8:2
The freedom we have because of the gospel is freedom from crushing religious rules, the enslavement of sin, and the fear of death.
While religion says do, Jesus says done. That is the truth of the gospel.
On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Our religious rules and human attempts couldn’t get us to God. Once and for all, Jesus paid the price for us to come to God. The gospel says it’s no longer about the good things I do but about the goodness imparted to me through Christ. Yes, Jesus saved us in order to follow Him, but we are saved solely by what He has done, not by anything we can do. We are needy for the gospel every day. Relying on Christ and the gospel brings incredible freedom and actually motivates us to follow Him with joy and peace rather than guilt or religious duty.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. — 1 John 2:1
We should make every effort to walk in holiness, but when we do sin, we will always come back to Jesus’s work, not our own.
Jesus doesn’t save you so you can keep on sinning. He saves you so you can follow Him. Jesus doesn’t offer us freedom to sin but freedom from sin. The freedom He gives us is that He draws us away from the sin that enslaves us. No longer do our sinful habits have the power to trap and destroy us.
One gentleman who attends our church has been set free from a life of drug and alcohol addiction. Before he came to faith in Jesus, he hurt countless people, including his kids and family. After Christ freed him from sin, he became a gentle giant and a “man’s man” full of truth and love. He is still working to restore the broken relationships from his past, but he enjoys overwhelming peace, joy, and love through his freedom in the truth of Jesus.
We may always struggle with sin, but when we embrace the truth of Jesus, we can rely on His victory. When we trust in Jesus, He has already set us free. We will experience His freedom fully in Heaven.
When you embrace the truth of Jesus, not only does your heart explode with love, joy, and peace, but you feel the freedom that only He can give!
Truth Brings Us Closer to God
Truth brings us into the lasting happiness and satisfaction of relationship with God. In no other place can we find satisfaction that will last. When we draw close to God, we find all the satisfaction and peace our heart has been longing for. God created us for Himself, and as Augustine famously said, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.2
Truth Is a Person
Other religions promote good works. Some religions even seem to outdo Christians in how disciplined they are. What makes Christianity different or more truthful than the rest of the religions in the world? Christ alone is the difference.
We don’t follow a religious system; we follow Jesus.
In other words, the truth is not merely some theory or concept. The truth is a person.
While other religions reach out to God, Christianity shows the truth of God reaching out to us in Jesus. God reaches down with profound love, kindness, and grace to bring us to Him.
The Bible says about the truth of Jesus:
For it is My Father’s will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life. — John 6:40 NLT
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. — John 1:12
Billy Graham shared a powerful story in his autobiography about the longing in all of our hearts for the truth of Jesus. He and Ruth were spending time on an island in the Caribbean:
One of the wealthiest men in the world asked us to come to his lavish home for lunch. He was seventy-five years old, and throughout the entire meal he seemed close to tears. “I am the most miserable man in the world,” he said. “Out there is my yacht. I can go anywhere I want to. I have my private plane, my helicopters. I have everything I want to make me happy. And yet I’m as miserable as hell.” We talked with him and had prayer with him, trying to point him to Christ, who alone gives lasting meaning to life.
Then we went down the hill to the small cottage where we were staying. That afternoon the pastor of the local Baptist church came to call. He was an Englishman, and he too, was seventy-five. A widower, he spent most of his free time taking care of his two invalid sisters. He reminded me of a cricket — always jumping up and down, full of enthusiasm and love for Christ and for others. “I don’t have two pounds to my name,” he said with a smile, “but I’m the happiest man on this island.”
“Who do you think is the richer man?” I asked Ruth after he left.
We both knew the answer.3
What does it profit us if we gain the whole world, and yet lose our soul? What does true success look like? What is life all about? The answer is found in a person, Jesus, who calls us to walk in both truth and love.
Have you received God’s love for you in the truth of Jesus?
The Son of God came as man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose again on the third day. He now sits at the right hand of the Father and will receive all those who trust in Him to Heaven one day.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going into Burger King makes you a Whopper. Being near church and other Christians isn’t enough. What matters is reaching out to Jesus with faith and receiving Him into your life. What matters is the eighteen-inch journey from your head to your heart.
Yes, Jesus loves you, but will you receive His love for you by believing in the truth of Jesus? When we believe in the truth of Jesus, we experience the love of God that we’ve heard about, and God’s love will change everything in our lives if we let it.
If that is you, this is your moment —bow your head in prayer. Today, put your trust in Jesus and what He has done for you, and experience God’s amazing love!
Over the coming week, start a one-year Bible reading plan. Commit a few minutes each morning or evening to read God’s Word. Each time as you begin reading, ask God to open your eyes to His truth. As you finish reading, consider one thing you read that you can begin to apply in your life.
Have you ever used truth to hurt someone else? Even someone online? Consider going back to that post and deleting it or apologizing to the person you offended.
Pray and ask God to help you fall in love with His truth.
If you prayed to trust in Jesus at the end of this chapter, we would love to hear from you. Send us your contact information at thinke.org/gospel. We want to send you some powerful resources about growing in your faith in Jesus.
1.Billy Graham, “Things God Hates,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, August 25, 2011, https://billygraham.org/ decision-magazine/september-2011/things-god-hates/.
2.Augustine, Confessions, I.i.
3.Graham, Just As I Am, 697.
Excerpted with permission from Truth Plus Love by Matt Brown, copyright Matt Brown.
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In our day, the world says there is no such thing as truth. “Truth is relative.” Or “you have your own truth.” But, actually there is no such thing at “your truth”. Jesus is the truth! Come share your thoughts on truth on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily