The Truth Within

by Andy Wood on March 5, 2009

in Ability, Gamblers, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, Tense Truths

true-heartTense Truth: God gives you desires you can never satisfy and makes demands you can never fulfill.  He then goes about bridging the gap, doing for you what you can never do for yourself.  Your primary responsibility is to trust Him to be Himself – to rest in His faithfulness.

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Have you ever felt like God was somehow playing a joke on you?  You hear people talking about being forgiven, and you feel guilty for, well, feeling guilty. You read the stories about miracle-working power, and wonder why you got left at the station.  You learn more and are less happy; work harder, but feel weaker.  You’ve learned to speak “Christianese” and go through the motions, but sometimes you just feel like a fraud.

What if I were to tell you that God has a glorious answer?  Something more liberating than a self-improvement project or yet another string of self-disappointments?

David’s Truth Discovery

For nearly a year, David had played the role.  The psalmist of Israel, the beloved king, had gone through the motions, mouthed the words, and tipped his hat to the man he once was.  Very few knew people the real story:  David was just a shell of the man he once had been.

He made all the right noises on the outside.  Problem was, integrity is an inside job.  Wisdom is, too.  And inside the king, the one thing God demanded of him was missing.

“Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6).

Truth in the inward parts.  That’s what David said God was looking for, and what David himself had been missing for a year.  The “man after God’s heart” received a gritty reminder after the fact.  God wasn’t impressed with his outward performance when it lacked integrity.  His external displays of goodness were a stench to God because the hidden parts were a lie.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Just tell yourself, God, and others the truth.  But the human heart has an amazing capacity for deception – starting with self-deception.  Certainly nobody ever had to convince David about what a liar he could be!  In The Regamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning adds:

When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes.  I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.  I am trusting and suspicious.  I am honest and I still play games.  Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.


My Truth Discovery

I was meditating on David’s discovery about truth in the inward parts last week.  Looking at it through New Testament lenses, the Holy Spirit quickened my thinking and spoke to my heart.  If I could put into language what I heard Him saying, it went something like this:

I desire truth in the inward parts.  You can never be a man of truth and integrity with others until you are first a man of truth with yourself and Me.  But  what I DESIRE from your heart I have already BECOME IN your heart.  I AM your truth.  I AM your way.  I AM your life.  Every demand, every call on your life is not a call on your flesh to change or improve.  It is a call on your flesh to die.  It is a call on you to receive Me as your way, truth, and life.  I am the truth in your inner man.  No law, no external rule can ever bring light into a dark heart, or honesty to a deceitful heart.  Only I can do that.  And I WILL!

That reminded me of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:30:  “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

Everything you and I need from a spiritual perspective, Jesus has personally become.  As intimate as David was with the Lord, and as hard as he fell, David never knew this indwelling dimension of a walk with God.   You can.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1 that the Jews were seeking signs (manifestations of power), and the Greeks were seeking wisdom (manifestations of understanding).  Meanwhile, God was seeking inner purity and integrity.  But here’s the wonderful discovery – wisdom isn’t head knowledge, but relational, intimate knowledge.  David says that it’s in the hidden part – the place of intimate relationship – that God will make him know wisdom.

The signs the Jews sought and the wisdom the Greeks sought were both in the context aggrandizing the flesh.  They wanted their experience and their glory (can you relate?).  What God desires, on the other hand, is humanly impossible, because “no flesh will glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29).

The Tension of the Heart

So here’s the tension of the heart, and how God has responded:

1.  We have legitimate, God-sent desires that will never be satisfied in our own wisdom or strength.  These desires include understanding (wisdom) and power (signs).

2.  We have selfish desires that undermine our God-sent desires – desires for my own glory and boasting.

3.  God has desires from us – namely integrity (truth in the inner parts), and complete righteousness.

4.  We are completely powerless to produce what is required of us on the inside because of the fleshly desires to share that with our own glory.

5.  Our only solution is for Someone – namely God – to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.

6.  Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to satisfy both God’s demands and my desires.  He has become:

  • Our redemption for the forgiveness of sin
  • Our righteousness to stand before God
  • Our sanctification to produce a holy life here
  • Our wisdom to know and understand God and life on this planet.

7.  Believers today live in a dual reality, both governed by a powerful little word – “in.”

  • Before God, we are in Christ.  That means all the merit that Jesus has becomes our merit when we approach God.  It also means, since Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, that we are represented in His presence right now.  By renouncing our own glory, repenting of our sin, and trusting Christ, we are now in Him, in the Father’s presence.  As such, before God we are wise, righteous, sanctified, and redeemed – and we are boasting in Jesus!
  • But we also still live here.  And here, Paul says, Christ is in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).  In practical terms, that means that everything that God or life demands of us is a demand on the Christ in us.  Moreover, those God-sent desires for wisdom and power can now be satisfied by the Christ (Holy Spirit) who lives in us.

Now What?

So how do we enter into and appropriate that relationship?

  • By humbling ourselves.  God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.
  • By getting honest with God about our sins.
  • By receiving – in faith – the Lord Jesus (and/or Holy Spirit) as what we need at the moment.
  • By “boasting in” (worshipping) Him – praising Him, even in advance of the victory.

This is something you can do in a matter of seconds, like breathing, or in a matter of minutes or hours as you seek the Lord diligently.

How Would Your Life Be Different…?

What if, the next time you faced a temptation, you went ahead and acknowledged you weren’t adequate to handle it?

What if, the next time you were engaged with other believers, you were free to be honest about your struggles and challenges?

What if you actually talked to Jesus while your were in a spiritual battle instead of afterward?

What if you ran to the Lord when you blew it, instead of running away from Him?

What if you made it your priority to make His name famous – even when nobody was looking?

This is no joke or fantasy.

It’s life.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley Bendeck March 6, 2009 at 2:44 am

How appropriate for what we’re dealing with. Thanks for this message. It was God sent.

Eddie Payne March 6, 2009 at 7:57 am

I am part of a group of 5 men that meet weekly working together to support each other and to support our walk with God. Part of our focus is the 60-60 experiment of John Burke in Soul Revolution and this article helps me so much in knowing better how to pray and more what to focus on every 60 minutes. A true God sent message at just the right time. Isn’t God great.

Matthew R. Roeder March 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

So many knots to untie. So many things to deal with. So much guilt to obsolve. So much wrong. So many battles to fight. Freedom comes only when I acknowledge I can’t do it. Put on Jesus. Take yourself off, and put on Jesus. Peace only comes only when I admit I have nothing good to offer. My best is refuse. I need to be covered. Torment only ends when I put on Jesus and stop trying to do it myself.

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