Jesus loves me.
Jesus forgives me.
Jesus died for me.
Jesus fights for me.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is beside me.
Jesus died for everyone and wants all to be saved and to know him.
Don't you feel good just reading those words. If you're like me it doesn't take a lot for your mind and heart to agree on those truths, does it?
The gospel, we like, in a nutshell.
Under these truths life is simple. And peaceful. And restored. These truths bring comfort. (At least to me, anyway).
I made the conscious choice over 25 years ago, when my warm and fuzzy feeling was getting backed into a corner by some harder truths, to search out the Source of all Truth. My life has not been the same since. I still get my warm and fuzzy feelings, but in the process, the Source has shown me some harder truths too. Truths I don't like to really think about or dwell on or declare, like I'm going to in a minute here on this screen.
(My fingers are already a little worried about what their task will be).
Truths that are hard and I don't much care to dwell on them so I pretend they don't exist:
I don't feel warm and fuzzy when I read those truths.
Another truth I shied away from for a long, long time and kind of left sitting in a corner, knowing it was there but hoping it would somehow, someway just magically disappear was this truth:
There is evil in this world.
I'd read the passages about prowling lions and deceitful snakes and sneaky foxes but I still hung on to my Pollyanna persona that there is good in everyone and with just the right amount of love and patience evil could be stamped out of a person.
Which is true, and most certainly possible with the authority of Jesus.
But the reality is this:
There is evil in the world and not all evil is recognized as evil, but it disguises itself to be fair and loving and just and right even though.....it's quite the opposite.
Truth is hard. I don't feel warm and fuzzy in these truths, so does that mean they are not true?
We can't truly be free until we recognize that the very truth that frees us is both warm and fuzzy and gut wrenchingly frightful. We can't believe one without the other. Well, we can, but we're not really free if we choose to ignore one and just live on the wisps of the other.
God's truth is hard.
Recognizing we are sinful people, with hearts of evil, not good, is a hard truth to reconcile when the world is telling us otherwise.
The more I read God's word the more I realize the bigger picture is much bigger than I ever imagined. The battle is real. The war is won, but the battle is real. God's side is the only side true believers can be on (and there you go, I can hear you already, "Ronda, are you saying I'm not a true believer because I don't agree with you?" - No).
But I am saying God's side is the only side true believers can be on. If we're not on his side seeking true justice, true mercy, true humility, true surrender to his authority, we're not true believers. (Calm down you who may be thinking I'm declaring a works salvation - that is NOT what the point of this is either, and the truth about that one is hard too. Jesus spoke his harshest words to the very people who all thought they had one foot already in the door to heaven. We would be wise to assess our own hearts beside his "woes" and those words "Away from me you evil doer." Our hearts are what will be judged, not our actions or affiliations. Just sayin'. Our actions can do a great job disguising our hearts).
True believers want what God wants, not what we want God to want.
True believers want His truth to reign. All His truth. In every issue, in every circumstance, in every heart.
True believers love God's truth, the hard truths as much as the warm and fuzzy parts.
That's where the battle is left to be fought, in our own hearts. The battle is having the courage to look at the hard truths when, if you're like I was and still am at times, would rather look at the warm and fuzzy truths and shout those out loud and strong and hope the hard truths are told by someone else. The cost may be high if God is calling you for such bravery.
You may lose a lot of friends. Family may shun you. Even those you fellowship with might not see it the way God is showing you. That is hard. But Truth is hard.
It is wise to count the cost of seeking all Truth. But when you're done counting, don't be afraid.
Here's what I know about seeking Truth even while knowing the cost:
It's worth it.
Every misunderstood conversation and lost relationship is worth the misunderstanding and/or loss if it means knowing Jesus Christ in the fullness of His truth.
Every lonely moment you spend crying out to him instead of going with the crowd is worth it.
He's worth it. His truth is worth it.
He'll show you and remind you and enable you to rest in this truth: that in the end it will all make sense. In the end what can't be celebrated together here will be celebrated together with him, There.
The Lord loves unity, but unity can only come with individual hearts surrendered to Him, not to a party line, a denominational line or any other color of line. When all hearts surrender to Him and his ways and his methods and his workings, THEN.....
Then there will be peace.
Then . . . .
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever...He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace...
Seek His truth. The courage you need is waiting to be used by you.
Matthew 23; Matthew 19:28-30; Luke 11:14-54; Luke 14:25-35; Micah; Matthew 7; Luke 13