Don’t Live Your Truth

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April 23, 2019

I’m happy to welcome back to the Daily Text our friend, Omar Rikabi. He will lead us for the next few weeks. After that, (beginning June 3) I’ll be back with a six month series on the Book of Acts. – J.D. Walt

2 John 2

… because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

CONSIDER THIS

“Daddy, you’re not the boss of me,” my then five-year-old daughter said after I warned her of a consequence for not finishing dinner. 

Then her seven-year-old big sister beat me to a response: “Yes he is! God says our parents are the bosses of us to love us and take care of us!”

I knew big sister was learning about the Ten Commandments in Sunday School, so I turned to my (now favored) child to say, “That’s right! Where does God say that?” But before I could, little sister shot back, “Well, God says I’m the boss of me.”

Big sister and I stared at little sister, but she didn’t look up from her plate. “Where did God say you’re the boss of you,” I slowly asked, breaking the silence. 

Looking out the window she said, “Ummmm… he said so in my heart.” Chagrined, I walked out of the kitchen and handed her over to her mother. 

We are in the era of “live your truth,” and it starts at a very young age. “Your truth” is what you feel or experience. Whatever is true for you is good, and whatever is true for me is good. But what is truth? To be true means “to be in accordance with reality.” But what if we each have a different reality, and what does John mean when he says the truth lives in us? 

In his much larger gospel account, John records Jesus’ conversation during his last meal before his crucifixion. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” 

The Greek word John uses in his gospel for Jesus as the “truth” (alēthela) is the same word he uses here in his letter. In other words, truth is not a concept or a series of propositions or even personal experience. Truth is a Person. Our experiences and feelings, though legitimate and important, are subjective. But Jesus Christ is constant. He is our reality. 

This is not an easy thing to grasp or live in to. It’s why we need grace. And prevenient grace — the grace of God that is pursuing all people even if they’re not aware of it — means that whenever someone is looking for absolute truth what they’re really looking for is Jesus… even if they’re not aware of it (pro tip: this is where to pray and intercede between you and others).

So here’s a good place to start: John’s statement that the truth will “be with us forever” is the same Greek word he uses in his gospel during that same meal when Jesus says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4).

A friend once taught me the practice of a breath prayer: In silence, as you breath in deep, let your prayer be, “Jesus remain in me.” And as you breath out slowly, let your prayer be, “and I will remain in you.” 

Pray it now. Then pray it again as you breathe again. Pray it throughout the day. Pray it for several days. For weeks. You can pray it any time and any where you take a breath. Let it become your truth — as close and true as the air you breathe — so that the things between you and Christ can impact the things between you and me.

THE PRAYER

Jesus, remain in me… and I will remain in you. Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What has been your truth? 

For the awakening,
Omar Al-Rikabi

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Omar Rikabi is a United Methodist Pastor serving in North Texas. When not telling stories, Omar likes to watch movies with his wife Jennifer, read books with his three daughters, and work in the kitchen cooking and grilling for family and friends. You follow him on Twitter @omarrikabi or visit his blog omarrikabi.com

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