14 July, 2024

My Truth or The Truth?

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by | 1 July, 2024 | 0 comments

Living in the Shadow of ‘COEXIST’

By Steve Poe 

For years I’ve noticed a popular bumper sticker. More than likely, you’ve seen it, as well. It’s probably the best-known bumper sticker or window decal on the planet. It spells out the word Coexist, using different religious symbols. These bumper stickers first appeared shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. Bono even wore a Coexist headband during U2’s 2005-06 International tour. Today there is even a Coexist foundation dedicated to building religious literacy through money raised by selling Coexist products.  

The Nature of Truth 

While the idea of different religions coexisting together in peace is a commendable goal, as followers of Christ, it’s important we understand that all religions do not point to the same truth. In fact, all other major religions contradict one another on major claims. Yet many in the secular world lump all religions together, advocating that it’s all right to believe whatever you want to believe. Truth, they would say, is relative and subjective, often shaped by your own ideals and perspectives. And therefore, it’s OK if your truth happens to change from time to time. This is why it’s important for us as Christians to see the difference between relative truth and absolute truth.  

Relative truth is to believe that while something might be true for one person, it’s not necessarily true for another. One person might tell you they don’t believe Jesus is God while someone else might say he most certainly is God. Both think their belief is truth.  

Absolute truth, by contrast, is when something is true for everyone regardless of whether they recognize it to be true. God’s Word and what it says about Jesus are examples of absolute truth. God’s Word is unchanged and unaffected by opinions or societal trends.  

Believers must understand that truth in its divine form—Truth—is not a mere collection of facts or data. Truth is a living, breathing entity, dynamic and transformative. Truth in its divine form is Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). This statement is a cornerstone of Christian belief. Jesus did not say, I am a way to God; rather, he said, I am the way to God. He didn’t just speak truth; he is the embodiment of truth.  

For example, when Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true,” (John 18:37, New Living Translation). Jesus stated that his purpose in coming into the world was to bear witness to the truth.  

Imagine the house of your dreams. A beautiful two-story home with incredible architecture and large living spaces. It’s everything you’ve always hoped for in a home. But now imagine the house begins to fall apart. It leans to one side and develops cracks in the roof. How disappointed would you be? The foundation, you discover, was improperly constructed and is too weak to support the home’s weight. A house will not stand the test of time if the foundation is improperly built.  

If your marriage, family, and life are not firmly planted on absolute truth, they will not stand the test of time. It is imperative that we build our lives around the absolute truth of God’s Word.  

The Foundation of Truth 

Paul presented a profound image of Truth in his first letter to Timothy. He described the church as the “pillar and foundation of the truth.” This image is more than just a metaphor. It carries deep meaning for us as believers. It tells us something fundamental about the nature of the church and its role in the world. “If I am delayed,” Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15, “you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 

The body of Christ is the church, and we are part of the church because we have accepted Jesus as the Truth. Therefore, it’s God’s spirit living in us that unites us.  

A. W. Tozer offered a great example of this in his book The Pursuit of God. He wrote, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.” In the same way, we are all one in spirit because Jesus is the tuning fork we’ve all been tuned to. Therefore, we are one in spirit, not because of anything we’ve done, but because we are tuned to the same divine standard, which is Jesus. 

The Practice of Truth 

 Paul’s imagery of a pillar helps each of us understand our role and responsibility as believers. A pillar is an object that supports the weight of a building. Similarly, we are to uphold the truth of God’s Word to a lost and hurting world. So then, what are some ways we can do that?  

First, we must pursue God’s truth, for how can we uphold the truth of God’s Word if we don’t know what it says? This is why it’s so important to read and study Scripture on a regular basis. It’s an important spiritual discipline that’s critical for spiritual growth. Regular reading of Scripture also is important if we’re going to help our friends and family discover the truth about a relationship with Christ. Paul said to let the word of Christ richly dwell within you (Colossians 3:16). This is why it’s so important to create a healthy habit of reading Scriptures daily.  

We also need to proclaim God’s truth. Matthew said Jesus went around Galilee teaching in the synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. All believers have this same obligation and responsibility to proclaim the truth. In fact, the last instruction Jesus gave the church before ascending to heaven was that we go to all the world and make disciples. There are, of course, many ways for us to proclaim the truth, but it often begins with building healthy relationships. The closer you get to someone, the better able you are to share truth with them. Sharing the truth of God with the people we rub shoulders with each day is a crucial part of the church’s mission. It’s the reason the church exists.  

 We also need to practice God’s truth. In other words, it’s not just about what we say, but also how we live it out in our daily life. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). People are watching how we live; they want to know if we practice what we preach! They want to see if we do more than talk the talk. There are so many ways to plant seeds of truth without being preachy. Some examples: Make healthy comments on social media, be a friend to someone who is grieving, help a neighbor who is in need. We need to look for creative ways to express the love of Christ.  

We must also protect God’s truth. Of course, the truth of God will endure forever whether we protect it or not. But God has made it clear we are to defend the truth against those who try to attack it. We are to stand up against false teachers who pervert the truth. Paul told Timothy to “correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). So, we have a responsibility to speak up if someone is perverting the truth with their false teaching.  

It’s God’s Word, the gospel of truth, that serves as the foundation on which our faith is built. It’s active and alive, shaping us, molding us, and guiding us in our walk with God. As we learn to rely on God’s truth, it will direct our steps and become our compass, our “true north,” guiding us through the difficult times of life. It will shape and mold us in our walk with God. Truth, like a beacon, will lead us on the path of righteousness. And because it’s a solid foundation, it can withstand the storms of our life.  

So, my friend, are you embracing the absolute truth of Christ, or are you being swayed by the relative truths of our culture? As followers of Christ, we must always remember that truth is not a matter of personal opinion or feeling. It’s not something we can mold or shape to fit with our own personal beliefs. Truth is objective, unchanging, and absolute. So, let’s commit to embracing truth in our own life, and let’s share this truth with others, so they can experience the life-changing power of the gospel. 

Steve Poe has served as senior pastor of Northview Church, a multisite church in central Indiana, since 1999. He began his ministry after spending 11 years in the business world and cultivating a heart for the unchurched. 

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