“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
John 14:16-17 (NLT)
John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the USA, shared the following observation about “truth”: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” Likewise regarding truth, the Apostle Paul warned the young minister Timothy of the dangers that await him as new converts would “turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4).
What is exactly is truth? It depends on what magazine you read, which news broadcaster you listen to or who you are talking to. Let’s face a sad reality. We live in an age where there are varying opinions as to what is or isn’t the truth. Just peruse the magazine covers at the grocery checkout. There is little or no truth to be found. Because of this deceptive trend, it is important that believers have a reliable and trustworthy compass by which to navigate in this world. That compass is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit.
What is truth? Truth is defined as that which agrees with final reality. For the disciples, their final reality was the thought of facing a hostile world (John 15:18-20) without the presence of their Beloved Jesus. It was Jesus’ presence that gave them the courage to challenge the spiritual tyranny of the religious leaders. It was Jesus’ loving response to the diseased and disenfranchised that modeled what true love looked like. Their old truth would soon be replaced with a new reality—one that would focus on witnessing (Acts 1:8), baptizing and teaching (Matt. 28:19-20).
In John 14 Jesus promises to send the Spirit of Truth that would abide with them forever. It was the Holy Spirit Who would now come to live within them. We generally think of the Holy Spirit in terms of gifting or empowering believers to accomplish the purposes and ministries of Christ. However, the attribute Jesus chose to share with His disciples in John’s text focused on “truth”. It would be the Spirit of Truth that would assist the disciples as they were persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ. They would be tempted to denounce and deny Him Whom “the world could not receive, because it neither saw Him nor knew Him” (v. 17). They would need the Spirit of Truth to call “to remembrance” the life and ministry of Jesus Christ—especially His work of salvation for sinners (John 14:26). The Spirit of Truth would assist the disciples in accomplishing the “greater works” promised by Jesus (John 14:12). Jesus was indeed “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” but after Jesus’ departure, the ministry of truth continued because the Helper or Comforter was and still is active both in the Church as well as in the world.
Like the disciples of the first century, today’s believers need the Spirit of Truth to:
Discern truth from the spirit of error. The spirit of error neither agrees with the Word of God nor aligns with God’s purposes. The spirit of error will cause believers to doubt the nature of God and question the “usefulness of their beliefs” in the present world. The believer’s reality or truth, however, is to stand fast, living boldly as children of God and as followers of Jesus Christ. God’s truth is counterculture and flies in the face of 21st century living (1 John 3:2-3).
Walk in freedom and power. Jesus promised His disciples that continuing in His word would result in knowledge and freedom (John 8:31-32). This promise is still true for His believers today. “Word” in this sense is the personal wisdom and power derived from the believer’s union with God. John uses “truth” to refer to Jesus and His ministry, including His procurement of man’s salvation. This knowledge from God releases the believer not only from the penalty of sin but it also empowers them to be all God has created them to be (Phil. 1:6).
The Spirit of Truth stands ready to silence the lies, myths and fables of the 21st century. Our confidence lies in the promise, power, and presence of the Spirit of Truth. He is the True Compass for our lives.
Prayer: “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Let your Spirit of Truth reign supreme in my life. Let me trust in that which He guides me to do and obediently follow the path of Your choosing. I receive Your Spirit of Truth and walk in the knowledge and freedom which You have graciously given me.