How many times have we heard someone say, “the truth shall set you free.” That quote sounds good on the surface, but did you know it’s not true? Shocking right? Let me show you.
John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
While Jesus did say truth sets us free, He put some qualifications on that statement. In context Jesus told people who already believed in Him (established in verse 31) that if they abided or dwelled in His word, then they would be His disciples. A disciple is a devoted followers or learner. He went on to say from there, when you become one of my devoted followers and dwell in my word then you shall know the truth and the truth you know shall set you free.
Truth alone doesn’t set free. If it did, we’d all be free. It’s the truth we know that sets us free.
Here’s the paradox of that verse, Jesus said the key to freedom was to be a disciplined learner. Discipline doesn’t sound much like freedom to most of us. It sounds like commitment and work. Before I go further, let me show you the next verse so you see why this is so important.
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?
As soon as Jesus started telling the crowd He was ministering to about knowing truth and it setting them free, they told Jesus, “We’ve never been enslaved to anyone.” The irony of that statement is off the charts. When they told Jesus this, they were occupied by Roman armies and in bondage to Rome. They had also previously been in bondage to the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians. The crowd was in denial.
I’d love to be able to lie to all of us and say it doesn’t take work and discipline to be set free. It is work to put the word in, mediate on it, and to a make commitment to be at church. The question we have to ask is it less work than being in bondage to sin, sickness, depression, poverty, unhealthy relationships, and so on? I’ve experienced all of those things and it’s much less work to put the word in and transform my mind than to deal with the consequences of the bondage of sin, depression, and poverty.
Discipleship is the path to freedom. It’s not enough to start in Jesus’s word, we must abide or continue in His word to maintain our freedom. While God will never bring bad things against us, we live in a fallen world and the devil will. If we don’t discipline ourselves to stay in the truth, we won’t be ready for his attacks when they come.
I’ve found one of the reasons many don’t want to abide in His word is because many are scared of God because they think He’s a harsh taskmaster or they think He will take away all of their fun. I can tell you after 19 years of making this commitment, nothing is further from the truth. Jesus is awesome.
I’ve personally come to a point where I’d rather spend time with Him than do a lot of other stuff that I used to consider fun. I’m free to, it just doesn’t hold my interest. That’s because His grace changed me as I spent time with Him. I didn’t try to change. He changed me effortlessly. I wanted to share that because that is possible for everyone reading this. As we abide in Him, He changes us supernaturally!
The key to walking in freedom is evaluating life and choosing what to sacrifice. Many hate the word sacrifice, but the truth is we will all do it. We can choose to sacrifice sin, sickness, poverty, and depression by abiding in His word or we can choose to cast off restraint and sacrifice our freedom. The choice is ours. I’d encourage us all to abide in His word and let it change us from the inside out so we can walk in freedom!
If you’d like to learn more, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.