Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). As a Christian, these words remind me that Jesus has broken the penalty of my sin and I will one day enjoy complete freedom from sin in Heaven. True indeed, but it is easy to get so theological that we miss the fact that truth is truth, and what is true for eternity is true right now. Christian or not, if you apply the words of the Bible to your life, you will reap the promised benefits.
During my college years I experienced the joy of this freedom when I embraced truth in regard to a deeply ingrained sin. School had ended for the year and I was to spend the summer at a Christian camp as a counselor. The first week was set aside for training, and during one of the sessions we were sent off to spend time alone with God to ask Him to show us areas in our lives which needed improvement. The Lord gently prodded me about something that had been a struggle for me — lying. As a child I was a “fabricator extraordinaire”. Simply put, I was a great liar. As I grew in my faith and did battle with this sin, I had seen much progress. Yet I still easily embellished true stories with things that were not true, most of the time realizing it after I had said it. Then I couldn’t bring myself to admit to the lies because I was afraid of what people would think of me. Over time I convinced myself that it really wasn’t a big deal — after all, the main story really was true.
But God was merciful in showing me the truth. He wanted to set me free from a slavery I didn’t even know I was living in (John 8:34 — “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”). If I would receive this truth, choose to embrace the fact that I was a liar, then I would be set free. In that moment I chose to own it before Him. But what came next would show whether or not I was really owning the truth.
When we reconvened after our prayer time we were instructed to pair up with someone, share what God showed us, and pray for each other. Admitting my sin to God was one thing, but to another person? Yet if I would only own the truth before God, was I really owning it at all? Perhaps one of the reasons we are told to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) is because when we own our sins before others, then we’ve really embraced the truth.
For the first time, I told another person about this sin in my life. He prayed for me, and I was set free — I knew it, I could feel the difference! Of course, Satan was not pleased with my newfound freedom, so he brought lies to mind as I would speak. When I quickly admitted the lies to my listener, my freedom remained. Eventually Satan must have realized he was fighting a losing battle because the lies stopped entering my mind.
You may know a hard truth you need to embrace before God and perhaps another person. If so, I encourage you to do it. Freedom awaits you! But there is also the possibility that you may have excused some sin so many times over the years that you are now no longer aware of it. As David did in Psalm 139:23-24, I encourage you to ask God to reveal any truth you need to see so that you can own it and be set free. Slavery is oppressive. Let God move you from that dark place into the glorious place of freedom.