Watching young kids play on the South Florida beach reminded me of the days when mine were content to play with their Barbies in the sand for hours on end. Small talk with another mom watching her littles roam the beach revealed her family’s recent relocation to the South, and the stark difference it had seemed to make for their child’s allergies. I nodded along, but couldn’t help but hang onto the notion she was severely misinformed, as the pollen ran down the streets when it rained there! When we find a narrative that’s convenient for us, we’re tempted to latch onto it beyond any sense …or dangerously, truth.
We read today in the Gospel of John, his recording of Jesus’ words: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The NIV Study Bible explains the meaning of truth in the context of this verse: “closely connected with Jesus, it is not mere mental assent but genuine trust, demonstrated by discipleship, that leads to salvation.” Amidst the plethora of narratives wafting through the air and rolling past our eyes as we scroll, it’s never been more important to know the truth.
Freedom is a product of the cross. Jesus chose to die on our behalf, breaking chains and forgiving our sins before we set foot on the earth. Free is freedom from sin, not from ignorance (NIV Study). It’s important to know, for example, that where there is a high pollen count, allergies to pollen will be aggravated. We can take antihistamines to calm the reaction, but the underlying truth doesn’t disappear, no matter how much we want to convince ourselves of it.
The same is true in this life. One senseless argument with a teenage child will put human ignorance on full display. Humility and submission are not natural qualities in any human being, yet to be fostered and learned as we grow. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There are no exceptions to the rule. Genuine faith has only one Source, one Savior …Christ Jesus. Anything else is just a pollen narrative we’re latching onto without humbly and submissively accepting the Truth. “Jesus is not one way among many but the only way” (NIV).
In our modern societies across the world, there is more news than any of us can keep tabs on, let alone decipher every fact from fiction. From the broad spectrum of the world down to the small communities and neighborhoods we do daily life in, there are multiple narratives. Life within the love of Christ allows us to determine truth from lies. “Jesus is alive and reigns as King of the universe,” Pastor John Piper explains, “and he offers real freedom to all of us.” Jesus is all-inclusive. Following Christ whole-heartedly will expose truth from lies.
The Holy Spirit, constant Stand-by for every believer in Christ, aids us in understanding daily directions. Staying connected to God through His Word, prayer, and worship is essential to understanding the truth about what God’s plans are for our days. Many times, we can overcomplicate the journey of walking with Jesus, when Christ calls us to take up our cross daily. We leave the yesterdays behind us, and trust the coming days to Him. We are called to live in the present, step by step, day by day, prayer by prayer. We may wish it was as simple as a roll of the dice in the game of Life, but His plans for us are far beyond a game-board.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Ben White
Faith develops as we follow Christ. He is the true narrative. Dictionary.com defines narrative as “a story that connects and explains a carefully selected set of supposedly true events, experiences, or the like, intended to support a particular viewpoint or theses.” As Christ followers, we can rid the definition of a cynical, “supposedly,” and know assuredly Christ’s narrative fulfilled prophecies and essentially connects us all to our Great God in a million different ways, every day.
Our identity is found in Christ. Our true selves, the way God intended and purposed us to be, is unlocked by the freedom the cross ushers into our lives. “Identity is most central and revolutionary truth we must wrestle with if we are to go from bondage to freedom,” wrote Britt Mooney for crosswalk.com, “Yet it is the most difficult to address because we cling to our identities more than anything in this world; our racial, national, political, gender, sexual, religious designations are the place from which we understand everything else.”
The dictionary defines identity in this way: “the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions.” Our identity in Christ consistently reflects His Light, as His Living Water flows through us and onto others around us. How do we spot the truth against a backdrop of false narratives in this world? Look closely for those who stand out in the best ways. Love never fails, no matter how great the effort to mute it. The Truth is the Truth. Love is Love. And God never changes. Glory Up.
The true narrative is this: God loved the world so much, He gave His only Son to save us. (John 3:16) We can cling to the truth of Jesus’ actual words, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And the promise, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Photo credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
Meg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.