WHAT IS TRUTH, ANYWAY?
"THEN YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE."
“Live your truth.”
It’s the mantra of our age, and it tells me that I am the master and definer of my reality. I am the originator of “my truth”— a truth that sets me free from the constraints of others’ opinions of me, free from outdated notions, free to be whomever I want, and free to interpret the world however I want, even free to change “my truth” when it no longer serves me. It tells me when I live “my truth,” I am truly free. This is the water we swim in, and we’re in deep. But is “my truth” actually true? Can it really set me free?
To start with, what is “truth” anyway?
Truth is defined as something that corresponds to an actual and ultimate reality. To put it another way, the word “truth” is intended to explain something objective that really exists, not something subjective or contradictory. Therefore, “my truth” is a misnomer. To put the “my” in front of “truth” makes it subjective. It’s an ironic creation in our language of something that just doesn’t make sense. For instance, if “your truth” and “my truth” are in conflict with each other, how can they both be “truth?” There was a time when the word “truth” stood alone. “My truth” didn’t exist as a construct, because there wasn’t room for it in the definition. Truth was dependable—true for everyone, true all the time—or it was simply false. Truth was always true, and it was true truth. So, at its core, “my truth” really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But boy do we love living out “our truth!”
I mean, I do! Though I struggle intellectually with the absurd irony of the language choice, practically I live out “my truth” all the time. That silly phrase does put words to the deepest desire of my fleshly heart—to be the boss of my own life, to do as I see fit as the definer and creator my own reality. And as much as it feels inconsistent with my intellectual understanding of truth, deep in my heart, I long to live out “my truth” just as much as any other human.
But is “my truth” really a lie?
Certainly, we’ve seen that the phrase doesn’t hold up linguistically, but what about the concept? Does living out “my truth” really set me free? I have found that it does not. Just as the phrase cannot align with the actual definition of truth, so the lifestyle falls short of the freedom and fulfillment it promises. Let me share how I’ve seen this bear out in my own life. One of “my truths” is this: awesome possessions will make me happy. But when I try to live out “my truth,” purchasing all the coolest stuff, I am not happier. I find that those awesome possessions don’t have the power to make me happy. And no amount of believing or living out “my truth” can alter this objective truth: possessions are incapable of giving humans real satisfaction. Therefore, “my truth” is actually a lie, one that leaves me less happy and more empty than I was before.
So, is there a real and actual “true truth”?
Is there something that is always true and reliable, unchanging, and objective? Is there something ultimate that can explain our experience of the world and give us the real and lasting satisfaction we all long for? Jesus says “yes” (and I say “amen” to that)! He tells us in our verse that there is an objective truth: it’s the truth about him, the same truth that sets us free. And we’ve been dissecting that truth all month long on our blog. We’ve learned that we’re often resistant to the truth (Are You Sure You’re Right?), that the truth about Jesus is the most amazing thing (Is Jesus Too Good To Be True?), that even though we mess it up, Jesus still loves us (Jesus Loves Punks…), and we’ve looked at how specific biblical truths set us free (The Truths That Set Me Free). These are just some of the truths about Jesus that we’ve discovered, truths that match up with reality, truths that have the real power to set us free!
What are some of "your truths" that you need to submit to "the truth"?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
ON THE PODCAST
This month, Dwell Differently co-founder Vera Schmitz shares how memorizing specific truths in God's Word have helped to set her free from struggles in her own life. She relates how the truths about God's transcendent peace in Philippians 4:6-7 have helped her in anxious moments. She shares how Exodus 14:14 teaches here to rely on God to fight for her. And she also relates how the words of rest in Psalm 116:7 come to her mind in seasons of busyness. We trust that Vera's stories of freedom will be an encouragement to you as you consider how God's words have bolstered you up when you've needed them. And be sure to join us next week as we memorize on more verse to help us do just that.