Theme of the Week: The Voice of Jesus
Bible Verse: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13
Scripture Reading: John 16:1-33
The Spirit is called the “Spirit of truth,” and thus we should fully expect that there is a distinctive and important relationship between the Spirit and truth. We need to clarify how our minds and lives are shaped by truth and how the Spirit plays a primary role in this formation of our understanding.
In other words, the transformation of the Christian, through spiritual maturity and growth, comes through the truth that engages us and enables us to live in freedom and strength. We come to faith through the truth and we mature in our faith through the truth. Thus Jesus reminded his disciples that the Spirit is the Spirit of truth who would guide them into the truth. The followers of Jesus, then, are sanctified by the truth (John 17:17).
Taking the truth seriously necessarily means that we take our minds, and the life of the mind, seriously. Our encounter with the truth is specifically through our minds. It follows, then, that truth is of little worth unless we value what it means to have minds that are capable of learning, understanding and critical thinking.
One implication of respecting our minds is that we are attentive to the intake, that is, to what fills our minds and informs our thinking. Surely an essential Christian discipline is that of being intentional when it comes to what we see and hear and where we focus our thinking. The apostle Paul urged his readers to “think about these things,” namely, that which is true, honorable, just, pure and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8). There is likely nothing that determines who we are and what we become so much as the content of our minds.
Our behavior is the fruit of our thinking; our actions and reactions, our inclinations and propensities, are all the result of what is happening in our minds. It follows, then, that the Christian should take the mind seriously and appreciate that it is essential for us to seek, with passion and determination, to know truth.
Learning to listen as the Spirit calls us to truth means that we do more than read what lies before us in Scripture. Reading is good, but it is not the same as listening. And to listen, we must engage both heart and mind. To read, and listen with heart and mind, requires that our inner posture before the truth be one of faith, humility and receptivity. We engage the truth with an eagerness to live in it, not as judges of the truth but as those who long to be mastered by it. It is then that we open our hearts and lives to the transforming power of the Word.
Gordon T. Smith in The Voice of Jesus. Copyright ©2003 by Gordon T. Smith. Used by permission of Intervarsity Press.
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