John 8:32 NIV
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Have you ever thought about the depth of that statement, the power that it contains? This verse, perhaps above all others, was the one which impacted me the most when I came to Jesus 32 years ago.
What is truth? If you look at the word "truth" in the dictionary, you will find several definitions, the first few of which are: the state of being the case; the body of real things, events and facts; a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality. Jesus and His eternal Word fit all of these definitions. In fact, He and His Word are the embodiment of truth and give us the plumb line against which all other things are defined as truthful. Outside of Jesus and His Word, you will find no other source of pure and reliable truth.
So how can truth set you free? By showing the way out of bondage. Lies create bondage. Sin creates bondage. The Law creates bondage. And all of these things lead to deception, which ultimately leads to death. Anything that is outside of Jesus is outside of truth - in other words, it's a lie.
For eight years prior to meeting Jesus, I was trapped in bondage to deception. I had been taught that Jesus stepped in only "after all I could do". If I wanted to achieve the highest glory of heaven, I had to work my way there. The list of rules and regulations by which I had to adhere in order to be "worthy" was at least as long as the one the Jews follow with their 613 laws! My rules weren't the same ones as theirs. And in many ways, they were even more difficult to follow. Although I did everything I could to reach the "perfection" demanded by the authorities over me, the goal they set was impossible to attain. There weren't enough hours in the day to do all the "good works" listed in my "rules". There were many times that depression set in so deeply that I had trouble pulling myself out of it. Thoughts of suicide fluttered through my mind on a regular basis. I thank God today that they never "took root". Recently, I learned that the suicide rate among that group is higher than the national average in the U.S. And the most frequent drug abusers are women, with their drug of choice being Prozac.
The day I met the real Jesus - the Jesus of the Bible - and learned that all my "good works" all those years had been as "filthy rags" to God (Isaiah 64:6); that HE had done all the "work" on the cross; and that the only "work" that God required of me was "to believe in the one he has sent," (John 6:29b NIV). I felt like a 2,000 ton weight had been lifted from my shoulders!
I learned that I would still do "good works" - but those "good works" were things God had prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). No longer did I have to work myself to death trying to become "worthy" . I was made worthy through the blood of Jesus! No longer did I have to try to attain my own righteousness, because the only real righteousness comes from Jesus! The only thing I had to do was love Him, and allow His Holy Spirit to guide me, moment by moment, day by day. Yes, my flesh would still war with my spirit, but if I kept my eyes on Jesus, I could overcome anything through HIS strength, not my own. At the age of 29, I was finally free. I had learned the truth, and that truth had set me free!
Are you in bondage right now? Are you trapped in deception and weighed down by "rules and regulations?" Do you want to be free? Then look to Jesus. Pick up His Word and read it. Learn His truth, and it will set you free!
Used with Permission