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Monday, May 20, 2013

Truth anyone?

Do you like being on the "inside track" - knowing what is going on?  I know I'd rather know some things than not, but sometimes being on the "inside" looking "out" is a little bit frightening!  To know what is about to happen and not be able to say anything about it is stressful, right?  To know something and then be able to share it is quite another!  There is something I learned quite some time ago - to the degree you know truth in your life, you will have assurance to the same degree.  In other words, if your "truth gauge" is on full, you stand fully-assured.  If it is half-empty, your assurance in the midst of trial or test may waiver a little!  So, being on the "inside track" with God is essential if we are to stand strong in the midst of this present trial and all future ones to come!

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.  (2 Corinthians 4:1-2 MSG)

Look at what Paul says in the passage - God has "generously" let us in on what he is doing.  The word "generously" indicates a certain liberality on God's part to share his truth with his children - the very truth which will help us stand strong in the midst of trial.  Quite some time ago I also realized the purpose of the scripture is to change ME - I am not supposed to be changing scripture to FIT me.  So many times this is exactly what we do - we twist scripture or take it out of context so it will FIT our present beliefs and help us to justify our behavior at a particular time.  The problem with this is apparent in what it does to skew the testimony of God's grace in our lives.  Scripture is truth - truth sets the soul free - and anytime we twist it to FIT us instead of FREEING us, we are choosing to remain bound.

One of the truths I have seen evident not only in my own life, but in the lives of others around me, is that "experience" doesn't make a man or woman free from the past.  We can "experience" a whole lot of good things in life - but "experience" alone doesn't have the power to set a bound soul free.  For example, have you ever gone to some spiritual retreat of sorts, been so overwhelmed with a sense of well-being and "warm fuzzies" throughout the entire retreat experience, then returned home to find life is exactly the same? Nothing changed - you just "experienced" something, but experience alone didn't change you!  Truth is the only thing with the capacity of change - pure and simple.  

God asks one thing of us - put truth on display in your life.  We often don't believe we are capable of displaying the truth, but truth brings grace and grace is meant to be on display in our lives - because grace speaks volumes to the hurting and bound souls around us!  I haven't arrived at the place of perfection yet, but what grace God has worked into the pain-filled, sin-scarred areas of my life, I want to display, not out of pride, but because when others see what God can do, they will desire the same evidence in their life!  Your life isn't all "worked out" yet, but what grace has "worked out" in your life is worthy of being on display, so don't hide it behind masks!

You know, when I see grace on display in your life, it may be the very thing I need to bring me through my present "hard place" I am standing in and vice-versa.  You may never really know when truth on display becomes the mechanism for change in the life of another, but if you never stand boldly in the truth you have been given, the truth which has changed your life, others will miss out on what God intended to share through you.  Your life displays grace in a way uniquely your own - no one can quite display the truth quite like you can.  Sometimes we focus on what is not fully freed by truth yet in our lives, believing no one could be helped by what grace has already done in us.  The truth is quite the opposite (and remember truth sets us free) - the truth you have embraced may be the very truth another needs in order to be free, as well.

We get discouraged by what still needs to change in our lives instead of being grateful and grace-filled by what has already changed.  Always looking inward is not a good idea, for we miss the beauty around us when we do.  On our recent vacation, my traveling companion saw much more of the hillsides, lush green forest lands, and even the wee critters skittering hither and yon.  Why? She could look outward at those things - taking them in fully.  I was focused on the driving, the twists and turns, and the avoidance of those skittering critters!  Some of us need to change our perspective - seeing what is on display right in front of us.  The truth on display in another is an open door for truth to take root in us.  Just sayin!