Truth + Trust = Believing


Truth is often based on our experience.   Our experience of the same facts – the same truth – leaves us with experiences which are not the same.  In reality, truth is true before we believe it.  Today we look at how truth intersects with trust in the context of believing God.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5:24

Jesus answered, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
John 18:37-38

A certain prominent political leader said recently, “It is for the people to make up their own minds as to the truth.”  When the Roman Governor over Israel, Pontius Pilate had Jesus on trial, Jesus said to him, “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate replied to him, “What is truth?”

I was speaking with some young adults on this topic recently, and one of them shared that truth is often based on our experience.  Isn’t that the truth? We can both attend the same dinner with friends – you leave thinking it was the best dinner ever, and I think it was average at best.  We attended the same dinner.

What gives?  Our experience of the same facts – the same truth – leaves us with experiences which are not the same. And we often rely on that experience and those feelings to determine the truth of the situation.

Some people define truth as what they believe in, as if believing in it makes it true.  Truth is true before we believe it.  Before we find it, discover it, or grab ahold of it, truth is true.  Still, there is a clear relationship with believing…  In fact, when it comes to Jesus, truth and belief take on a new and different twist.

When Jesus was teaching his followers on earth, and challenging the beliefs and assumptions of the religious leaders of his day, he made an important statement about our belief:

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5:24

Jesus speaks here about believing God the Father.  Notice he isn’t talking about believing in the Father.  Jesus says the life-changer is when we believe God.  What’s the difference between believing ‘in’ something and believing someone?  James helps us with this in his book, where we read that even demons believe in God (James 2:19).  I bet demons have better doctrine than me.  I bet they could run circles around us in terms of their understanding of the truth about God and his ways.  They believe it.  They actually know itDemons know it all.  Yet those demons are missing something…

When we talking about belief and faith, we are not talking about admitting something.  We aren’t about agreeing or assenting to a fact or figure or even a truth.  Pastor Brent shared recently on this topic that believing God is about the combination of truth and trust.  That’s what the demons lack: trust.

When we trust in the truth of God, we believe God.  We don’t believe in God.  We believe God the Father for what he has done for us in Jesus.  This is at the soul level – we rely on God.  We rely on Jesus in a sense of trusting him.

I suspect that you might be like me: when our faith hits rough spots, it is often less about truth and more about trust Christians are pretty clear in terms of our truth when it comes to the essence of the gospel: God loves each of us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to live among us, die for us, and rise again.  We might get other things wrong sometimes, yet that essential truth is rock solid.  So when we hit rough spots, it’s more about the trust we have or don’t have about our lives, our direction, God’s ability to help us turn around, etc which leave us shaky.

Some people only trust themselves.  They have a hard time with trusting others and this carries over into their faith relationship.  Jesus is the essence and embodiment of truth (John 14:6).  And so, the more we can keep going to Jesus for truth and in trust, the better we will be able to weather the stresses of life as they attempt to pull us out of trusting God and toward only trusting ourselves.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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