Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Heart's Response To Truth

The Heart's Response To Truth
A Devotion By Dan Guinn

In my last devotion, Spirituality Engaging the Heart & Mind, I discussed the role of the mind in our spiritual life. We learned that the mind is very active in our spirituality. We learned that we do not need just “heart-felt” spirituality, but also “mind-felt” spirituality. Here are a few verses that were used, that will now serve as a base moving forward in an understanding of the heart’s response to truth.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." - Matthew 22:37

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. "

"For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." Rom 8:6

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Rom 12:2

Each of these verses speak of setting our mind on the things of God. We must always remember that it is not only about “thinking," but thinking and pondering truth with a capital T, or as Schaeffer said, “True Truth.” The way this begins always starts with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Remember the promise of the Lord to the disciples.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:12-15

This Holy Spirit is at work to guide us into all Truth! This is cause for rejoicing. We ought to Celebrate! You no longer walk in pitch-black darkness, groping in the night trying to find your way. You no longer stumble in blindness, fending for yourself and falling into continual tragedy. You no longer dwell in confusion, but you have real answers that defy all the obstacles of life before you. There is substantial victory!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

I think sometimes we as Christian’s get used to hearing certain phrases and they no longer hold the strength of meaning that they truly deserve. This is not just some random evangelistic phrase we are hearing from the Lord. He is the light of the world and we will not walk in darkness! This should overwhelm us like the healing hand of Christ’s touch on the blind man. “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25b) We ought to be shouting this from the rooftops! “I now have understanding! Now I am free!”

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

With truth comes substantial freedom, and freedom from bondage is always cause for rejoicing!

The phrase I quoted, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see,” was from the story of the man born blind at birth found in John chapter 9. In this chapter Jesus finds the man and there are questions as to who was responsible for his blindness. Was it the sins of his parents? Jesus indicates that it is not their sin, but that this illness is for God’s purposes, as Jesus says, “that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Now what Jesus is saying here is that this message is for the confirmation of His prophetic message as a sign. In just the chapter before the Pharisees were arguing with Jesus about his “witness,” questioning His credibility. Jesus now is solidifying His authenticity by following the will of His father and performing miracles at the appropriate time. This miracle is in fact confirming the actual canon of Scripture and bringing the light of truth to the dark world. Listen to what Jesus said next.

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5

Immediately after this Jesus makes mud with his saliva, and places this on the blind man’s eyes. How weird is that? Well, it has important meaning in the context we are speaking. He purposely is breaking the Pharisee view of the Sabbath. According to them, He just did work, He made mud. Jesus is actively educating by highlighting a gray area of their strict and ungracious view of the Mosiac Law and pushing on it. This action is all about bringing light on their darkness. Yet since He is healing, there is tension between their idea of the Law and their understanding of the witness to His prophetic authority. He is either a law-breaker or a prophet, He cannot be both. A law breaker, by healing on the Sabbath, or a prophet evidenced by his healing the blind man.

So a huge controversy erupted, witnesses where called, the man’s blindness was questioned and verified. Finally, the man is put out of the church. Note that this is no small thing. This is a disciplinary action, he is to be considered an apostate from the Law of Moses. He is being put out of the church, and for what reason?

There seems to me to be at least four reasons, of which are hinged on the man’s newly found understanding and light.

Calling the man who healed him a prophet.

+ Confession of Faith - Consider the impact of this event on the formerly blind man’s life. It was transformational, it was confessional.
+ So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

For blatantly provoking the priest.

# Boldness & Innocence - Now that he had attained sight and understanding, he was willing to risk all to keep it. This made him bold to the point of being willing to even provoke the priest who absurdly where attacking him, yet he was innocent as a dove in this remark.
# Can you image this? You have been blind all of your life and a man heals you and now that you see the priest are badgering you over politics? Seriously?

They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him... John 9:26-28a

Calvin says something quite wonderful in his commentary on this passage:

“It is an astonishing display of freedom, when a man of mean and low condition, and especially liable to be reproached on account of his poverty, fearlessly provokes the rage of all the priest against himself. If that which was nothing more than a small preparation for faith gave him so much boldness, when he came to the struggle...This question is likewise ironical; for he means by this that they are prompted by malice, and not by sincere desire for truth, to press him so earnestly to reply to this fact.” John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol XVII, pg 384

Because he now sees

+ Truth to stand on - Consider that the priest did not know where Jesus came from, but the blind man knew He came from God.
+ “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes...” John 9:30b

Because he now worships Jesus

+ Truth that brings one to his knees.
+ Finally, after this trial of sorts is adjourned, Jesus meets the man again after hearing that he had been excommunicated. Jesus ask him right away if he believed, and after explanation the former blind man confesses, “Lord, I believe!” and worships Him in the presence of the all. His expression of joy and thankfulness are no doubt implied.

Ultimately, the heart’s response to Truth in the life of the believer should always be this way. Truth transforms like light into a dark room. When you truly see, you can’t help but respond with confession. You have to tell others. You have to help others see. You have answers for others. You become bold in resting in those answers and the one who gave them because you can truly see like never before! You realize you can stand on it. You realize that it’s real, and that it makes sense. Finally, Truth ultimately brings joy, thankfulness and worship for the one who gave it. Truth ignites passion and sets the heart on fire. It brings about action.

I am reminded of the verse that describes the two disciples that walked with Jesus after His resurrection.

“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Real Truth is in Jesus Christ alone, He is Truth, He should be the passion of our heart.

What is your heart’s response to Truth?