What is the value of truth?
With so much “information” available and people trying to persuade us that their version of the facts is the truth, how is it possible to know what actually is true?
In our modern age of technology, information is readily available. At the click of a button, we can find ideas, news, pictures, etc. But in recent years the rise of things like “fake news” and “shaping reality” seek to bend the truth, creating alternative realities in the hope that people will believe something that isn’t true, so that it will eventually become true. Promotion of oneself or one’s ideas and beliefs at the expense of others often lies at the root of these attempts.
With so much “information” available and people trying to persuade us that their version of the facts is the truth, how is it possible to know what actually is true? Is truth different for each person, depending on what they want to believe? Or is there an ultimate truth – one that transcends all the swirling ideas that move in and out of society?
In my search for the truth, I’ve found it very easy to be affected by persuasive arguments. We communicate with the world around us and with other people through our senses – it is what we see, hear, touch, and feel that affects us the most. And these things can change depending on how I am feeling on a certain day or whom I meet.
But what if the truth – the real truth – required that we go beyond what we can see, hear, and feel?
It says in the Bible that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8.) It also says that the grass may wither and the flower fade, but the word of God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8.) For me, this means that if I seek the truth, then I can trust that I will find it in God’s word. (John 17:17.) His word is not old-fashioned or outdated. And God’s thoughts are far higher, richer and more valuable than anything that I can cook up with my small human brain. When I seek truth, then I can actually learn to see everything the way that He sees it. Then all the questions I have about many things become insignificant when they are compared to eternity. And if the whole world were to live according to the truth we find in the word of God, then there would really be heaven on earth.
Here are some truths I have found in God’s word that have helped me personally, so that I at least can do my part to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, and prove the truth of God’s word with my life.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
As a human being, I am driven by pride. Even if I want to be good to the others, I find pride deep down when I see how I react in different situations. I wanted to be the best and hide my weaknesses. To always get the last word. To take care of “I”, “me” and “mine” at all costs.
But it says in the Bible that God resists the proud. The truth is that to get my will in everything can’t make me happy. Many people are rich, successful, and famous. But all those things aren’t a guarantee for rest and peace on the inside. If that same person suffers from pride and selfishness, then it is impossible for them to be completely happy and at rest in their inner being.
But there is hope! The truth is that when I am humble – when I admit that I am actually full of pride and that I need God’s help to become free – then He gives me grace (or help) to overcome. I have experienced that by humbling myself, by acknowledging the truth about myself, I become free from the unrest that comes from seeking my own. Being right, getting my own way, and climbing up the ladder of success actually become meaningless when I see that those things truly mean nothing in terms of eternity.
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
The things we can see are temporary – everything we have on this earth we only have for a time. It is possible to “know” this. But it is something completely different to be so convinced of it that I change the course of my actions permanently so that my treasure is in heaven, like Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:20.
What is the treasure in heaven?
It says that the word becamein Jesus, which means that He lived according to God’s word and those words became His life. (John 1:1-4,14.) And it is also possible for me to live this life so that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, my sinful nature can be put into death. Jesus said we could follow Him, by denying ourselves and taking up our cross. (Matthew 16:24.) That means I give up my own strong will that goes against what God wants for me. I consciously choose to go the way He is leading me at the expense of what I want. Then God leads me on the way of salvation, and I experience that I receive His nature. (2 Peter 1:4.) I begin to see the value of giving up my own ideas, opinions and wishes that are contrary to God’s will, because I learn that the “things which are not seen” can give me true joy that goes far beyond the passing pleasures of things.
“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15.
How easy it is to want to defend myself when someone accuses me or speaks of me in a way I don’t like! My honor and reputation are so important! But this verse says that God looks at my heart. Jesus was completely innocent of transgression and yet He died on the cross as a criminal. But God knew that He had never sinned, therefore He exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:9.) Jesus understood that the honor of people meant nothing – He sought only that God would be well-pleased with Him. In this way He left us a tremendous example to follow. If we suffer accusations, rightfully or even wrongfully, or if we don’t get recognition for what we have done, then we can remember that we live before God’s face and be sure that our hearts are pure and then what people say or think actually means less than nothing!
This verse also says that what people look up to is despised by God. That is a tremendous truth to hold fast to. Society, media and personalities can try to draw us this way and that. And most of the world follows without much thought. But all of it is an abomination in God’s eyes. If I can truly see things the way He sees them, then I don’t need to be drawn in by “majority,” but I can peacefully and joyfully follow my own path that leads towards heaven.
“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32.
I have thought of this verse many times. God wants me to know the truth and especially the truth about myself. Jesus said in Mark 10:18 that no one is good except God. And Paul said that even when I want to do the good, I still find that evil dwells in me. (Romans 7:15.) It takes a great deal of humbling myself to agree that in everything I find, even though I wanted to do something well, there was so much of “myself” in it.
In Malachi 3:2 it is written about the refiner’s fire and the launderer’s soap. This is how I have experienced seeing the truth about myself. It can feel like a fire that burns. But if I agree with and obey the truth, that fire actually burns up all the sin that dwells in me and it leaves my heart purified in that area. It is painful, but it gives me power also. It sets me free from that sin. And the launderer’s soap is not the gentle type – but it can bring refreshing and cleansing and liberation if I choose to accept the truth and bow before God’s face.
Truth does not come cheap. It requires that I give up everything of myself. But I also receive everything in return – everything that matters for eternal life. And those who possess the truth understand that its value is above everything I could gather on this earth.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.