At the grocery store, I have a bad habit of getting a basket, when I need a buggy. Soon, stuff is hanging out of the basket and I’m trying to carry the rest in my arms…I guess it’s a guy thing because buggies just aren’t cool. When it comes to my walk with Christ, I do the same thing. I have “basket” expectations in the middle of a “buggy” size process. So as a believer, what should I expect? What are some defined points of the journey? Let’s look at something I call the “bookends”.
Life is full of pages and chapters. In the Christian life, we can be confident of two set boundaries established by God in His dealings with us – Truth & Love. They’re also to be our standards for personal interaction, which looks something like this…
I. Holy Spirit-to-me
With Jesus telling us in John 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will “guide us into all truth” and the declaration in I John 4:8 that “God is love”; I know He’s going to guide me that way. When the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, I’m confident He’ll always speak truth in love.
So how specifically does it happen? Well, I won’t attempt to define how God works, but I will mention three common things we know, but still resist at times:
- Bible time – I need to get into His Word to read, listen, and contemplate.
- Prayer – I need to communicate with Him (by the way, it’s a two-way conversation).
- Obedience – I need to do what’s already been revealed to me, because I can’t expect further revelation if I’m ignoring what I already know.
Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:14 to gird our waist with truth. I remember in a former job (one of those previous chapters) when working in the warehouse, we were required to wear back support braces around our waist. It’s the same with truthfulness, it braces and supports. Without it come strain, injury, and painful recovery. We must be people of truth. However to be a person of truth, I must start by being truthful with myself.
I have to do as Jesus said and clean the speck out of my eye first before inspecting others. As I go through self-examination, I should remember the first point though. The Holy Spirit will guide me in truth and love. It’s not a time to get depressed, but a time to find victory. It often includes repentance, but with it comes liberty…precious liberty within the strength of a loving Savior!
When reading I John 4:7-11, we see an “environment’ of love. John starts the passage with “Beloved, let us love one another…” and describes how authentic, self-less love is evidence of God’s presence in our lives and a direct reflection of Him. Speaking the truth sometimes isn’t the hard part; it’s the “in love” part that presents a challenge.
As tough as it is, we are mandated by scripture to live this way. It’s expected of me, as a follower of Christ, to live within the boundaries of truth and love:
- In family life
- In friendships
- In career
- In service to others
Ephesians 4:15 speaks of the benefits of truth spoken in love, and that’s maturity. It’s not always the easy path, but one definitely worth traveling. So put back the basket and grab a buggy…you’ll be glad you did!