“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes...” (Proverbs 21.2a). I can state this another way that is equally truthful but hard to accept; here it is: Until I see myself through eyes other than my own, I will never know the truth about myself! Read these words again; they are of utmost importance! Until I see myself through eyes other than my own, I will never know the truth about myself!
The fact that we are rational beings means that it is our nature to rationalize our actions; in other words, every way of man is right in his own eyes. The robber takes from another because he thinks he somehow has a right to the possessions of other people. The rapist acts out of motives that are complex, but beneath it all he somehow believes that he has a right to do what he does. The petty thief at the office takes pencils home because the company can afford it, and anyway they will never miss them. The person who cheats on a test reasons that he/she needs to do it because of reasons that only he/she would understand. A surprising number of people think such actions are right as long as they don't get caught. These illustrations serve to demonstrate the fact that we rationalize our deeds. In fact, we have to do this in order to live with ourselves!
What does all this have to do with The Love of the Truth? Actually, quite a bit. From afar, I may have a great love for theoretical truth. I may not even know what truth is, but I still love it in theory. I pursue truth. I search relentlessly for truth. If anyone ever loved the truth, surely I am that person! However, when I find the truth of God, what do I do with it? Perhaps I learn from it that I am a sinner and my deeds are not what I thought them to be; I was not justified in all that I had done. Now what? I have a love for the truth, but do I have The Love of the Truth? Am I willing to accept the fact that I can never know myself as I really am until I see myself through eyes other than my own? Am I willing to accept the fact that reality is not changed by perception? Can I afford to believe that my real character is known by God and by God alone? Do I have enough love for truth to be moved by the fact that God and God alone determines what is right; that He defines sin, knows the sinner, and provides the only means of forgiveness?
The position that I as one who has a love for truth have to take is one which admits the fact that I am totally and hopelessly bankrupt spiritually. I do not know what is best for me. I do not know the difference between right and wrong. I do not have the strength or wisdom to achieve spiritual greatness. Apart from God - His mercy, His grace, His wisdom, His love – apart from Him I am nothing and I can do nothing! I am absolutely and totally spiritually bankrupt. As long as one vestige of self remains, as long as I insist on being the pilot of my ship, just that long I will not be able to receive The Love of the Truth. When and only when I am ready to make these admissions can The Love of the Truth begin to grow in me. That was the love that Jesus demonstrated in all of His earthly ministry. His desire was to serve and not to be served; His motive was to save others even if it meant His own destruction; His goal was to please God and God alone; His will was to do the Father's will without regard to His own comfort and safety. That is The Love of the Truth; it is not a theory; it is love in action!
Learning the truth about God includes learning the truth about me! It is His eyes through which I must see myself! I must look into the mirror of God's word (James 1.23) and then act upon the truth that I learn. Otherwise, I am only a hearer of the word and not a doer; I am self deceived! That's why James says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1.22).
1. How can one have a love for the truth but not the love of the truth?
2. Through whose eyes must a man see himself in order to receive the love of the truth?
3. What does James say about the man who looks into God's word (sees himself as he truly is) and then goes his way without ordering his life accordingly?
4. Who is spiritually bankrupt? What about a man who will not admit he is spiritually bankrupt? How does someone who is spiritually bankrupt stop being that way – or can he at all?
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