“and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
Truth – Discipleship and dependence. That’s the truth about freedom. In the last two days we discovered that this great verse is the extension of obeying the teaching of Jesus. We also found out that freedom is about serving a master of choice. This, says Jesus, is the truth you will uncover.
Alethia, the Greek word for “truth”, is a combination of two other words, a (not) and letho (forget). We shouldn’t try to make a lot of theological hay from this combination, but perhaps in this case the implications are quite revealing. We learn the truth about being free when we remember something we have forgotten. We are not our own. We belong to God because we are His creation. Whatever freedom we have is a gift, not a right. He is the master and the owner, not us. True freedom is not that delusion of self-determination. True freedom is remembering who we are and who God is, and choosing to serve Him.
How does this truth set you free? This is the telling question. Jesus answers this question by giving us a picture. Freedom is like the total dependence of a child. Why is a child so carefree about life? Why is a child so willing and able to devote complete attention to the moment? Why is a child obliviously of the world’s concerns? Because a child depends entirely on someone else. Ask any child about the political scene, the economy, the global tensions, the mortgage or the car payment. You will get a puzzled expression equivalent to “what is that all about anyway?” The picture is complete trust and dependence. Isn’t God in control?
Look carefully at your life. Wherever you live under the thumb of compulsion, fear, guilt or self-determination, you are not free. You are not free because you have not considered God in the equation. Calculate God in. The issues might not go away, but the answer will change. God plus dependence equals freedom. And that’s the truth worth remembering.