Have you ever been deprived of oxygen? If so, how fiercely did you struggle for air and how relieved did you feel when air returned to your lungs?
I (David) am a scuba diver and have always wanted that activity to be something the two of us shared; however, my (Donna’s) response has been consistently, “There is just too much water between me and the nearest air.” Personally, I (Donna) like being able to breathe…and I don’t mean mechanically. I am not fond of the idea of my oxygen supply being dependent on the correct operation of a mask and regulator through a tube connecting to a limited tank. So, I (David) dive, while I (Donna) sit on the boat or the beach and watch, contentedly breathing in my unlimited air supply.
The truth is your oxygen. We are to hold as fiercely to Jesus and His truth in our hearts as we would hold onto our only source of oxygen. Are Jesus and His truth that important, that vital, to you?
But what is truth? This is the question Pilate asked Jesus. Postmodern thought has come to the conclusion that truth is relative, meaning whatever I perceive as truth, is truth. This philosophy has given rise to such things as situational ethics and a refusal to acknowledge any absolutes. Jesus disagrees – as do the laws of physics. We can readily see in the natural world how certain absolutes, like gravity for example, are nonnegotiable and not situational.
If we accept there are some absolutes, and truth is not relative, then how can we know what the truth is? Before we can speak the truth in love, don’t we need to know the truth? Jesus said He is the truth (John 14:6) and that you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). He also stated He would send His Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). But what does all that mean?
His Spirit Within Us
When we accept the salvation that Jesus offers us, His Spirit lives in our hearts. Our hearts, then, are the Temple, the residence of God, instead of the building in Jerusalem built by Solomon where God was worshipped prior to its destruction. Jeremiah 31:33 prophesies the coming of this time: “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (NIV). Instead of God’s truth being contained in the Holy of Holies, written on a tablet, or kept in scrolls or written in a text, it is now written on our hearts, through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. It is from His Spirit that we receive the truth. From Him, we can know it is truth, and that truth will set us free.
The presence of Christ in us enables us to know the truth, and, therefore, speak the truth in love. When we seek to know the truth and ask Him to tell or show us the truth, He will. Whenever we see one of the tactics of the enemy in operation or recognize the presence of a lie, we need to turn to Jesus for His truth rather than engage in agreeing with the lie. Lies produce certain fruit, just as the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us. The fruit of lies is confusion, jealousy, fear, shame, division, bitterness, selfishness, rage and control. Compare the fruit of lies with the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). From its fruit we can recognize its source, similar to how we know a tree is a peach tree based on its production of peaches. When we see the fruit of lies, we can stop and immediately ask Jesus to tell me His truth to replace the lie we believe.
The Truth from Your Heart
In receiving the truth in my heart from Jesus, we are enabled to speak the truth to our spouse. Let us quickly clarify, speaking the truth in love does not mean you say whatever you feel. Often, what you are feeling is not truth nor is it based in truth. If what you are feeling is fruit of a lie, you need to first take it to Jesus, and then once you receive the truth, then you are ready to deal with those around you. For example, if your spouse ignores you and that stirs up a feeling of worthlessness in you, does that mean you go to your spouse and say, “You made me feel worthless”? It might be true that you feel worthless, but it is not truth that your spouse made you feel that way. They don’t have that kind of power. Only you have authority over your feelings. In truth, you likely believed a lie that you were worthless long before your spouse did or said anything. The better response is to go to Jesus, ask Him if you are worthless, hear His response of truth to your question, and then go to your spouse and say, “I would like for you to spend time with me.” The removal of the bitterness and hurt of feeling worthless allows you to speak the truth of your heart in love.