Truth is Not Enough

Like most pastors I love to read.  When I have time, it is not unusual for me to read a couple of books in a week, especially if they are short.  There is something about the joy of discovery, gaining new insight into spiritual truth that is both edifying and exciting.  In some ways, this pursuit of truth can become intoxicating to the soul, even addictive.  As odd as it sounds, having much knowledge about God, and His Word, can be abused.  The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:1b, “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”  And in his second letter to young Timothy, Paul warns him and us to be wary of “ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).  The end goals of studying God’s Word are the “renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2) and the embracing of a life of love that comes as we are transformed into “the image and likeness of Jesus” (Romans 8:29).  The belief that knowledge alone, even knowledge of God and His Word, results in transformation is a deception of the grandest order.

For those of us who have received RTF ministry and have received a measure of healing and freedom, we are at even greater risk for this deception.  Having received new identity statements, new godly beliefs and some healing from life’s hurts, there is a temptation to believe that we have experienced transformation.  However, many times it would be more accurate to say that we have begun to experience transformation but that transformation is far from complete.   Take someone whose life issue is worry.  They worry about the future, finances, their health and myriad other things in life.  During ministry God deals with their family iniquity, reveals truth, heals their heart and casts out the demons attached to the issue.  They have experienced healing and freedom but most likely have not yet experienced transformation.  Transformation takes place as we take possession of the land “little by little.” Meditating on Gods truth, walking in that truth, receiving more healing of painful memories, all under the direction of the Holy Spirit, works transformation.  The evidence of transformation will be they no longer worry about the future, finances or their health or anything else.  Truth can be revealed and received in a moment of time but transformation generally unfolds over weeks and months.

Dallas Willard in his book, The Great Omission, points us in the right direction when he reminds us that we are to be “disciples” of Jesus and that our task is to “make disciples.”  He further reminds us “disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own but apply their growing understanding of life in the kingdom of the Heavens to every aspect of their life on earth.”  The questions before us are, “will we become what we profess to be, and believe, that is disciples, learners, students, apprentices of Jesus on a daily basis?  And will we embrace as our main task of making disciples of Jesus Christ?” 

The Lord showed me several years ago that the transformation we seek personally, in our churches, and in our communities, is not to be found in having more knowledge but in living out those basic Biblical truths that He has already revealed.  We are simply too quick to move on to the next thing and never allow the Holy Spirit to work transformation as we meditate on, and walk in obedience to, our godly beliefs and the Word of God.  We grow impatient thinking it is taking too long or get distracted with the other demands of life.  We need to repent of our impatience and find effective ways to overcome life’s distractions.  Our transformation will continue to elude us if we don’t. 

While living in the city of Thessalonica, Paul and Silas “upset the world” (Acts 17:6) because they understood what it meant to be Jesus’ disciple.  Two followers of Jesus that didn’t settle for understanding truth but pressed in and fought for the transformation they desired.  What could the Lord do through us if we lived as Jesus’s disciples and represented the Kingdom of God in our sphere of influence?  Let us not be satisfied with the accumulation of knowledge, and standing for truth, but embrace our higher, and more difficult, becoming a daily follower of Jesus Christ and embrace the task of making disciples.  The fulfillment of our God given vision and calling depend on it.