Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What is Truth and How Do We Find It?

When we hear about Jesus Christ we automatically think of deity and salvation. He lived just about 2000 years ago and His presence and teachings have not only survived but they are a major driving force in today's world. I don't think that there is a question that He lived during that recorded time. The questions that are asked begin with was He really God's son? Did He walk on water and perform the miracles that are recorded? Did He actually take upon himself mankind's failings through an atonement? Was He resurrected and does He still live today? According to the Bible and the writings and testimonies of His apostles there is no question. However, those writings have gone through translations by men, and in the time in between then and now there have been horrible events perpetrated in His name. There are thousands of churches that exist today all believing in the Bible as containing his word. These churches teach different things and interpret what is taught in thousands of different ways. What is interesting about that is that Christ taught

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Where is this truth and what exactly is it? I want this freedom if it exists.

The definition that we have of truth in Webster's Dictionary is the following:

Main Entry: truth

1 a archaic : fidelity, constancy b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true c : the body of true statements and propositions
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : true 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
4 capitalized Christian Science : god

— in truth : in accordance with fact : actually

There are conflicting things within this definition. I may be simple but to me something is either true or it is not. Some things that we believe to be true may turn out not to be. As we gain knowledge what we believed was true can change. Astronomy is a great example. I had an astronomy teacher tell me one time that 90% of what we learned would be lies. I lamented at wasting my time as I realized that he was correct. If we pick up a science book that is 30 years old we will be amazed how our previous perception of truth has changed. I say that tongue in cheek because I believe that they were not truths that were taught but beliefs. With that said, I cannot help but believe that there are eternal truths that govern all things that are unchanging. We may not know what they are, but I believe they exist.

Either Jesus Christ really was the Son of God and did what he professed or it is the biggest hoax of all time. There is no in-between in my book, because things are either true or they are not. That may seem simplistic, but to me it makes perfect sense. The question is how to determine in our earthly mortality how we might discover these eternal truths, or if it is even possible. I can honestly say that to believe man alone when looking to answers to important questions is not possible. We might be receiving correct answers to questions but how can we know?

Going back to Jesus Christ and the truth of His identity it seems important to see what He had to say about discovering truth. In James 1: 5 and 6 this is what we read:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Now this makes sense to me. Since I cannot wholly trust answers from man and if there is a God then that is where I should get my answers from. Could it be that simple? It seems to me that if Jesus is what He says He is then this should be a sure fire way to gain that knowledge. It does say that I have to ask in faith nothing wavering. I take that to mean that before I ask any questions I need to consider things on my own. Once I have considered them to be possible and I really want to know then I should be able to ask God according to Jesus's words and receive an answer. How will that answer come? I know there have been experiences where people have seen and talked with angels, but I do not believe that is how we will get these promised answers.

I Corinthians 2 Jesus has some things to say about this:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

According to Christ if we ask God with real intent and faith then we are promised answers to our question through the Spirit that is mentioned as the Holy Ghost. To me that means that instead of hearing from the mouth of man, the spirit of God will give the answers to our questions through our own spirits which reside in our bodies. If we do what we have been admonished to do here, then we should receive answers to our prayers. That is right, it seems to me that is the real purpose of prayer. It is our way to have a two way communication with God. Are there restrictions on what we can ask God? I don't see any in these instances.

How can we tell whether what we have heard is really the true. Is there some test that He gives us which will solidify our new found knowledge?

In John 17 He gives us an answer.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

So once we receive His words then we need to act. Once we do that we will know whether the answers are from God (Who knows all truth) or from our own minds.

This all makes perfect sense to me. If Jesus really was the Son of God then we should be able to test that through prayer as He has taught. We should also be able to ask any question that troubles our mind. If we can do that with faith, not wavering then this should work.

I cannot take personal credit for this bit of knowledge and insight. I have been taught these things from an early age and so I am sharing them with you. These truths are in all of our Bibles and yet how many people take advantage of this wonderful line of communication which has been given to us. If our Father loves us then I see no reason not to believe that He is patiently listening to our pleas and waiting to give us answers to important questions that we have. I have found that if I pray for awhile kneeling, then read out of the Bible for 10 minutes or so and then sit with pencil and paper for about 10 minutes each day I am amazed at what comes into my mind, or spirit and what I write on that paper. Let me leave you with how I have learned to pray.

There are four steps to my prayers. The beginning and end are always the same, but the 2 steps in-between are from the heart. When I pray I use the words thee and thou when referring to God. Many people see this as to formal. I learned to converse in the German language, and with that I learned that thee and thou is the way you address close friends and family. You, is how you address strangers and those that you are not familiar with. Knowing that made a great difference for me. Hear are the 4 steps.

1. Father in Heaven
2. I thank thee ...
3. I ask thee...
4. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Again, this is not set, and I close in the name of Jesus Christ because I have a strong testimony that He did exactly what He professed to have done. I gained that testimony through this process. Good luck with this and may God bless you in your efforts to find truth. I might add that no matter what you have done in your life this avenue is open to you and God understands and loves you more than anyone does. He wants to hear from all of us.