by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
My recent conversations with adults and youth all over the country have convinced me that there are questions we all answer, often without any conscious realization or thought. These questions are foundational, and they determine the way we perceive and live our lives. We cannot ignore them. How we answer them, however, will shape our future.
1. What is truth? Everyone has a truth by which they live their lives. Every decision we make, every action we take, and every belief we hold, is judged against that truth. For some, that truth is the pursuit of pleasure, for others, money, and still others it may be fame. But for the Christ-follower, our truth must be the Word of God revealed in the person of Jesus. Jesus is clear, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…
Oddly, we live in a world that believes truth is simply personal. In other words, what is true for me may not be true for you. But if we define truth in such a way, then how can we ever agree upon what is real? In such a worldview, we can only live a life based upon our perception of what is, and facts become irrelevant. For me to write the very statement you are reading, in a way that is understandable to the reader, is an admission that you and I agree about what is true in words, meaning, and sentence structure. Without agreed-upon truth, we cannot function as humans.
If we become the definers of truth, (truth is only “my truth”) and we abandon any outside revelation of truth, we each become our god. When we each become our god, we quickly remove anything from our lives that conflict with our desires, and soon our world is thrown into chaos, self-absorption, pleasure-producing fulfillment, and utter destruction.
Christians believe truth comes from the Word of God revealed in His Word and the life of Jesus. These moral and ethical teachings often conflict with our desires, but it is in that very conflict that we see its beauty. The truth asks that I put others before myself, lovingly sacrifice for the good of others, help those less fortunate, mourn with those who mourn, rejoice in difficulty, and ultimately believe that even in the worst of times there is a loving Father who is with me and will see me through. Belief in the truth revealed in scripture has been the foundation of our laws, the bedrock of societal organization, and the ethical codes upon which our society is formed.
What we believe determines how we act.
2. What are you willing to pay for the truth you believe? Every choice has a consequence. Every pursuit has a cost. What price are you willing to pay to pursue your truth? The very act of making a choice eliminates other choices. That is the cost of that choice. We can’t have everything. We often don’t consider the cost of our truth before making our choices and later discover it has exacted a price on our soul/life we were unwilling to pay. What sacrifices, rejection, pain, or lack, are we willing to experience in order to live in our truth?
Our world believes that almost everything should be free – internet, television channels, movie selection, healthcare, college/university. Some even believe there should be a universal standard income for every person alive regardless of their ability or willingness to work.
Though the concepts sound exciting (free everything), few give serious thought to how to finance these concepts or who would pay. There is always a cost to everything. Even the most generous and gracious gift ever given to humanity – our salvation – came at an incredible price to God. He gave his very life for us to be reconciled to God. Things of greatest value often have the highest cost.
Many of the folks who visit my office thought they could live a life in contradiction to the truth, and it would all work out in the end. What they discovered, especially when they got exposed, was that the cost was higher on their soul and their relationships than they could have ever calculated.
If we are going to follow Jesus as our truth we have to seriously consider what that will cost us in every area of our lives. Luke 14:28-33 talks about this and says that ultimately, to follow Jesus, it will cost your very life.
3. How do you want to be remembered? No one wants to be forgotten. We all want to make some impact in our world. How do you want to be remembered twenty years from now or at the end of your life?
We will never achieve our created intent if we are not willing to make the small choices now that lead us to a destiny later in life. The devil knows small choices make long-term differences. The devil rarely attacks believers with massive departures from our strongly held beliefs. But, if he can get you to ever-so-slightly deviate from God’s call and direction in your life, he knows that you will end up in a different place than God has planned for you. One degree of deviation maintained over 20, 30, or 60 years can result in a devasting destination. Every decision we make today will impact our lives tomorrow.
Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives within me.” In 2 Tim 4:7, he states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul, and all the great heroes and heroines of Scripture, have answered these three questions and answered them well. Their lives are a legacy that shapes and impacts us today. I pray we will do the same and be found faithful.