Tag Archives: truth

The Spirit declares

Pentecost

John 16:13-14  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

In moments where something spiritual that once seemed unclear becomes clear, the Holy Spirit is at work.  Whether it’s a verse of Scripture or something you’re learning through prayer, God is working in you for the purpose of His own glory.  When we need an answer from God, it’s not often that we’d hear an audible voice speak to us.  It’s more likely that we’d “hear” from Him through the person of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit guides us in truth.  He helps us discern right from wrong, allows us to see what sound biblical doctrine looks like, He declares to us what God is revealing. When we’re in need of direction, it’s the Holy Spirit that shows us the way.  When we’re looking for God’s will, it becomes clear (though usually not all at once) by way of the Holy Spirit’s work. He convicts us of sin, leads us in truth, and speaks to us the things of God.

It’s because of the Holy Spirit that we’re able to bring glory to God.  He molds us and shapes us to be of godly character, bearing witness to Christ through our example to others.  He loves others through us, accomplishes the Father’s will through us, and empowers us.  He’s God in us and He’s what other people see of God through us.

A Genuine Man

F1ONRF-00003778-001Ephesians 4:25-32  Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,  and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Nobody likes a phony. We can often accept imperfections as long as people are genuine. Paul speaks to that in verse 25, saying to get rid of all the falsehood and smoke screens in our lives, and be real with each other. This comes directly after encouraging us to “put on our new self” in Christ. I believe that the vulnerability and honesty Paul mentions is critical to the overall goal here – we have to break down all the walls and barriers that human nature puts in the way of true relationship.

A major component of that effort is found in verse 29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.” Rather, we ought to lift each other up and be Givers of Life. When people walk away after interacting with us they should feel encouraged and touched, whether they are fellow believers or not. Go back to the “salt of the earth” idea. What is the aroma surrounding your personality? Is it pleasant to those whom in reaches? Taking it one step further, nobody ever said, “This is the best salt I have ever tasted!” While we are supposed to flavor and enlighten, this is not about us as all. Unless our efforts point to Christ, we are wasting our time and making it about us.

In verse 31, Paul describes the inner chaos and turmoil that marks a lost soul, much like the smoke-filled room from yesterday. In contrast, we are to be “tender hearted.” Tendons in the body connect, reach out, and enable. However, they are not weak and malleable. Tendons are among the toughest fibers in the human body – they do not break easily. I think we ought to be the same. Connecting hearts, forgiving one another, engaging someone else’s life with thoughtfulness and care…these are crucial tasks, and it says nothing about weakness.

Forget the stereotypes of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, but at the same time, strongly reject the soft male idea that was projected in the 1970’s – one of passivity and lack of direction. (Ladies, please don’t feel left out. Becoming and raising tender, Godly men is a job for both sexes.) Jesus was tender hearted and understood the feelings of others, yet was the strongest man that ever lived. This is our calling.

———-  Take an honest, prayerful look within yourself and ask, “How am I doing at being the kind of Christian Paul describes in Ephesians? Where can I improve?” Seek God’s guidance in making you more into the image of Christ.

*This devotion by Jeremy Bunge first appeared in February of 2011.

Stand on truth

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness

Though the spiritual battle rages on, we have nothing to be afraid of. The Lord has provided us with everything necessary to claim victory in the name of Jesus Christ.

As followers of the Savior, we have something that the world lacks. We have truth, the real truth. One thing the gospel provides for us is insight into the will of God for mankind. It’s His intention to see people repent of their sin, turn to Him, and be reconciled. The truth also reveals that Satan can’t win against the one true God. If we’re centered in the truth, we’re on firm ground.

We’ve also been equipped by our Commander in this battle with righteousness. We’re incapable of obtaining right standing on our own because we’re broken and sinful, but because Jesus Christ laid down His life and paid our ransom, we’re “not guilty” in the eyes of the Judge. That righteousness puts us right where we need to be, on God’s side, with His protection.

And if God is on our side, who can possibly stand against us?

Don’t believe everything you hear

Ephesians 5:6-7 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them

People will say anything if it means making a sale in today’s economy. There are literally thousands of claims made everyday for products that will not hold up to them. The worst part is, the people trying to get you to buy them know very well they won’t deliver and they don’t care as long as you buy.

That sounds so shady, doesn’t it? We imagine that only the most sinister of characters would ever do such a thing to another person, but in reality many deceive themselves before deceiving others. When you’ve talked yourself into thinking that it’s justifiable to scam someone else then it seems to be no big deal.

Then there are people in our lives who talk us into the little things, those little compromises here and there that seem like they aren’t sins because we’ve defined them as something other than acts against God. This passage from Ephesians says that to believe someone’s lies is to become partners with them.

Now look back at verse 5 and recognize that Paul was still talking about sexual immorality here in verses 6 and 7. The world lies to us about what is acceptable sexually and believing that sin is ok is to become partners with the sexually immoral. They use empty words and so often we believe them. “This particular act isn’t actually sex,” “God never said this was wrong,” “It depends on what your definition of “is” is.”

Let’s stop believing the lies by fine-tuning our ability to recognize the truth. We do that through learning God’s voice through His Word. To know Him is to recognize an impostor with ease.

Love rejoices with the truth

1 Corinthians 13:6  [Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Are you like Jonah?  Do you find it hard to rejoice when others find reconciliation?  Is it hard to be happy for someone who’s chosen to turn from their wrongdoing and now walks in truth?  Sometimes it seems that certain people never get what they deserve for the sins they’ve committed.  But we should never be joyful over someone’s sin. Instead we should rejoice when they walk in God’s ways.

It should be our desire that everyone would follow after God and seek His truth in everything. Real truth can’t exist apart from God, who is truth.  Truth is found in Christ, so anyone who turns to Him should be welcomed into the family, never rejected because of their past.  Love desires what God desires. Love seeks what is good, right, and pure and cheers when truth wins over evil.

When a lost sheep has been found, give praise!  Applaud with the angels in heaven that another soul has been restored to God’s image and truth has won out over all of this world’s evils.  Be glad when love wins.

 

Love does not delight in evil

1 Corinthians 13:6  [Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing

True love, let’s face it, is hard to live out. Never being rude, always being kind, this can be wearisome, but it’s still what love really is.  Love also never takes pleasure in unrighteousness or injustice.  Love never complains when someone benefits from truth and what is right, even when that person is an enemy. Because love rejoices with the truth, sometimes that means being happy for someone that you don’t think deserves for anything to go well in their life.

Put yourself in this scenario.  Think about a time that someone reaped a consequence of their own actions and you delighted in knowing that they got what was coming to them.  You can admit to doing it, all of us have at some point.  You, whether you knew it or not, were condoning the wrongdoing because you praised the results.  That’s not love.

Love, instead, would mourn that the person had made an unwise choice and saw things play out badly.  Love would seek to bring the person to righteousness through truth.  Then, when truth spoke into that person’s life, someone who loves them would be glad for them.  Jonah didn’t get this one right.  When he preached to the people of Ninevah, they repented and turned to God (Jonah 3:10-4:1).  If he loved them, Jonah would have praised the Lord that these people had been saved from destruction.  But instead he grumbled because he didn’t want the Ninevites to avoid God’s wrath.  He would have rather they fall because of all their past sins.  He didn’t know how to delight in truth.

Family speaks the truth

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

One of the most loving things you can do for another person, especially one who is your brother or sister in Christ, is speak the truth to them. There are few actions or words that can even compare with just some refreshing truth.

We all know that being a liar is a hard job. When you lie to others you have to keep track of what you told to whom and it makes you worry about getting caught. But honesty, that brings freedom. Speaking the truth to people frees us and lets us know that there is nothing to hide.

It can be really hard sometimes to say what needs to be said, but when you know someone is believing lies it’s always best to let them know what’s real. The biggest liar of all, Satan, tries to lure people into believing that God doesn’t care, that He isn’t listening, or that He’s not good. But the truth is that God is love (1 John 4:8). God cares about His people (Romans 8:30). God is good (Nehemiah 9:31). God is listening (1 John 1:9).

When we know the truth, we’re free from the burdens that lies bring. We can be the burden-breaker for someone else by speaking the truth. It’s what family does.