How do we learn to recognize Truth so that we may live in it? Despite the popular culture belief that truth is relative and left up to each one of us to decipher, there is only one Truth. There is a clear line between right and wrong, good and evil. As a society, we have blurred this line in the pursuit of our own selfish ways. For centuries, we humans have sought to find our own way to God or, taking it one step further, to become our own god. Even as Christ-followers, we have at the very least sat on the fence allowing our silence to deny the Truth. We have played this game of silence for so long that now it is hard to remember what convenience has told us to forget.
So let us now remember. The book of John recounts a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples. During this conversation, Jesus revealed that He would be leaving soon to go back to His Father’s house, but told them not to worry because they knew the way (John 14:1-4). Thomas quickly piped up, arguing that they did not know where Jesus was going so how could they know the way (John 14:5)? Jesus answered, saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7
The conversation continued and the disciples were still worried about what would happen after Jesus left. How would they recognize the Truth when living in a world that tried to counterfeit it, or worse yet, rejected it outright? Jesus continued by encouraging the disciples with the promise of another who would come to help guide them and teach them what Truth was. Jesus called this helper “the Spirit of truth.”
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17
“The Spirit of truth,” otherwise known as the Holy Spirit, lives in every follower of Christ. He was sent to us to be our guide so that we would be able to recognize Truth and to know the way. All we must do is learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit of truth and practice setting aside our doubts and selfish ways in order to act upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is not an easy path, especially the part about setting aside our doubts and selfishness. It is something that we must purposely set our hearts and minds on. Even the disciples struggled with this! Yet the Bible is full of amazing examples of how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of the early Church.
Starting in the Book of Acts, during Pentecost (the day the Holy Spirit came down us), the Spirit of truth allowed the disciples to speak in languages unknown to them so that all those around (Jerusalem was a multicultural city) could hear the Truth and receive the Gospel (Acts 2:1-4). Later, the Holy Spirit guided the movements of the apostles, showing them where to go, who to preach to, and what to say (Acts 4:8, Acts: 9:17, Acts 11:15, Acts 13:2, Acts 13:4, Acts 16:6, Acts 21:1-16, just to name a few). The Holy Spirit also called out lies and deceit revealing people’s true nature and intentions (Acts 5:1-11 and Acts 13:8-10, to give a couple of examples). The point is that the Holy Spirit is with us and serves as our supernatural connection to Truth. Because of the Holy Spirit, we can not only recognize Truth (and deceit) but also have the power, authority, and abilities needed to act in the Truth.
We do not have to sit on the fence unsure of what Truth is or how it should affect our lives and our actions. Through the Spirit of truth, we have His knowledge and power living inside of us. The Truth will be revealed to all those who seek out Christ and the Holy Spirit. However, recognizing the Truth is not really the issue, though it can become our excuse. The real issue is our commitment to the Truth. We know it, but are we ready to do anything about it? The Truth is with us but are we willing to listen to it and allow it to guide us no matter the cost?
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” – 1 John 1:5-6
Living with the knowledge of Truth but sitting in silence and inaction allows the world to stay dark. In effect, our silence is a choice to stay in the darkness ourselves. For only Truth permeating from our voices and our actions will allow Truth into our lives and, more importantly, spread out into the world around us. Recognizing the Truth is only the first step in our pursuit of living in Truth. The next step is to obey and to act in the Truth that we now recognize as absolute.