Friday, February 10, 2012
Living the Truth - Part 3
(Be sure to see the previous posts to get the context of this article.)
The third principle is Act on the Truth. This is perhaps the hardest of the three. It's not enough to know the truth and to accept it, you must act upon it. You must make your decisions, adjust your attitude, act out the part as though it is true even if your feelings are screaming at you. Now this is not the same thing as wishful thinking or positive thinking. We are not creating truth by wishing or hoping long enough or hard enough. We're talking about truths we know. Truth is something that is out there whether we believe it or not. Obviously we don't know all truth, but we do know some. The force of gravity is a natural truth. No matter how much you might wish it weren't true, it's still in effect. If you jump from a 10 story roof, the forces of nature will apply to you no matter who you are, no matter whether you believe in God or not. You might wish you could jump and soar like a bird among the buildings, but all of the wishing in the world does not make it so. Now there are other truths that also exist that will allow you to invent some sort of wings or parachute, but in all of these cases you are required to act according to natural truths or face the consequences. That's true in the spiritual life as well. God says that we should not be fooled. We will reap what we sow. We may not like it. We may wish it were different, but there is coming a day when the harvest will show what we've been planting. Another truth that is troubling is that we live once, we die once and after that comes the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
Sometimes you need to act out the truth almost as though you are acting a part. You may feel hypocritical doing this because inside your feelings aren't meshing with the behavior. For example a truth of Scripture is that we are to be kind to others no matter what they may have done to us. Acting kindly toward someone who has hurt you deeply may make you feel like a hypocrite. Inside you may not be feeling all of that kindly, but you are acting out kindness in spite of those feelings. If we live and act according to the truth, our feelings will catch up with us eventually. Feelings are real, but they can be deceptive. So live out the truth no matter what the feelings say.
An analogy is like the first time we learned to float during our swimming lessons. They told you that the water would hold you up if you just rested on it. They may not have told you that the water would hold you up after about 7/8 of your body was submerged, but it's still the truth. You can believe what they told you and you can even accept it. But when they have you lie back on their arms, it starts to be a different story. Then they tell you to relax and they begin to lower their arms to allow the water to take over. You continue to sink as their arms descend. If you're like me, you get to the point where you start thrashing with your legs and feet trying to find out where the bottom of the pool is. However, if you get to the point of actually resting on the truth that the water will hold you up, it's an exhilarating experience.
...to be continued...