Which Truth Sets Us Free?
"Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" John 8:31b-32 (NIV)
I lay awake, eyes staring at the ceiling, mind racing with fearful thoughts. "What if" questions consumed every last remnant of the fragile peace I’d managed to scrounge together during the daylight hours. In the dark, fear unpacked its bags and took up residence. Not just one day, but it went on for weeks.
I didn’t tell anyone how afraid I was. It was embarrassing. After all, others saw me as a leader … a strong Christian. What if they knew fear over the results of a pending medical test had me sleepless? Fearful to the point of actual trembling? Sick to the point of not eating?
My pride kept me silent, a prisoner to the fear.
Night after night the fear kept me wide-eyed. And day after day, I silently suffered while waiting for the doctor’s call.
After several weeks of this misery, I stumbled upon a Bible verse. I wasn’t looking for help; I just happened to find it. But something in the words spoke deep to my spirit. It was James 5:16: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (NIV).
It was one of those instances where I sensed God trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t figure it out. Kind of like when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t pull it from memory. I wanted healing, but what was the sin? Surely fear for my health wasn’t sinful, I thought. So what was God trying to tell me?
Then I had a dream.
In the dream, I found myself in a storm-ravaged house, looking out a broken wall at another storm coming. I got down on my hands and knees and crawled through a cage tunnel to escape. The tunnel led to the safety of someone else’s house.
Immediately I understood James 5:16.
The broken-down house was my heart. The storm was the fear battering my heart. To escape the fear, I had to humble myself before others, and fully confess my pride (that was the sin) and the depth of my fear.
So I started dialing and through sobs, confessed it all to a handful of people, asking for their prayers. With each confession, fear lost its grip.
My friends’ prayers spoke truth to the lies Satan had planted in my mind. Their confidence in God’s power helped restore my weakened faith. Their love reminded me I wasn’t alone and still wouldn’t be if the worst happened.
Before the doctor’s call ever came, I was healed from the fear. God’s truth battered down my prison door.
Years before, I’d heard my pastor teach on today’s key verse in John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." My pastor said the only truth that can set us free is the truth we know.
My experience with James 5:16 proved this true. If I hadn’t read that verse and applied it to my life, fear would have had its way with me. The truth of God’s Word made an immediate difference in my heart.
Here’s the problem: If we don’t know the truth in the Bible, how can it make a difference in our lives?
If my Bible sits on my shelf, pages closed, dust gathering, it’s like a caged lion. But when I open it up and read it, soaking in its truth, it unleashes God’s power in my life.
Mighty, life-changing, heart-restoring, healing truth saturates every page of God’s Word! It has the power to set us free from fear, anger, loneliness, pride, betrayal — just as Jesus promised it would.
The doctor’s call came, and the results were negative. Was it the powerful and effective prayers of my friends? Maybe. But I know for sure I experienced the power of God’s truth in a way I’d never known before. And I’m hungry to experience it again.
Heavenly Father, thank You for generously sharing Your truth in Your Word. Forgive me for ever reading it like it’s a history lesson. Help me see its power to set me free and change my life today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 1:17, "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (NIV)
2 Timothy 2:15, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."(NIV)
Do you wish you knew more of the Bible? You’re not alone. Most of us feel like it’s overwhelming and don’t know where to start.
At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we understand. We know it can feel intimidating to approach God’s Word. That’s why we’re developing a mobile app to help you read and understand God’s Word in a life-changing way.
It’s called "First 5," which we’ve designed to help women around the world give the first 5 minutes of each day to God’s Word in an easy-to-understand way. Imagine the freedom that will happen when women read and apply God’s truth!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what areas of your life would you like to experience God’s freedom?
Use a concordance (which is a book listing Bible verses by topic) or an online Bible website to find verses on God’s truth about these things.