“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind.”
At this point in our study we have learned about the evils of lying, gossip and criticism. But as Paul so clearly teaches in Ephesians 4:17-25, we can learn to walk according to the truth. Paul’s point is simple: that we know the truth, because Jesus has revealed it to us!
We know the truth about ourselves (we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory). We know the truth about God (that He is holy and pure, but also that He loved us so much He gave us His Son that whoever believes in Him has eternal life). We know the truth about others (that we are to “love them as we ourselves”).
If we know the truth, we ought to live the truth. “Speak the truth in love,” is Paul’s command (Ephesians 4:15). This can be a tough balancing act–we must hold to the truth without compromise, and hold to love without compromise. Speaking the truth in love is concerned with bringing out the best in the other person, not showing up their faults. “Love,” writes Solomon, “covers all offenses”: love emphasizes forgiveness and new beginnings, not bitterness and bad endings (Proverbs 10:12 NLT).
When we allow the truth of Christ to become part of our lives, we begin to show it in our lives. And it bothers us when we “slip up,” and make mistakes. It’s not easy to live truthfully, with integrity. We have to choose that the truth is important enough that we will stand up for it. We need to pray, asking God to help us discern right from wrong. That is one of the roles of God, the Holy Spirit, alive within us (John 16:7-11). And we need to ask God to give us the strength to be people of integrity, come what may.
- Where are you on the balance scale? Do you lean more towards truth or love?
- How did Jesus balance truth and love? Model this balance in your life.
Holy Spirit, search my heart and examine my mind;
reveal to me impurities in my life so that I might bear fruit for God’s Kingdom.