Four Letter Word

It happens more often these days. Some may say it comes with the wisdom of age, but really it’s the Holy Spirit saying, “hey, you’re ready for goes.” When it happens, I get all giddy inside, like I just discovered some ancient treasure or heard from a close friend after a long absence. I grew up knowing that God’s word is ever relevant and can still teach me new things from a passage I’ve studied extensively, but that doesn’t prevent the pure joy and excitement I feel when something leaps from the pages directly into my soul.

John 3:18-21

18 “He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

And just like that, the Apostle John blows my mind. I’ve taught this passage before, from the pulpit and in a small group setting, but as I was writing it down in my journal yesterday, a single four-letter-word jumped off the pages and smacked me. Read the passage again.

Did you see it?

Verse 21 says, “he who does the truth.” Does. Just like that, truth becomes an action, not just cognitive information. This goes hand in hand with John’s use of “believe” some 98 times, each one the action form of the word in Greek. True belief is evidenced by action, meaning the change within the heart that manifests in how I begin to live a new life. Paul extolls me in Colossians 3:5, “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” Such a good word, lurking. “He who does the truth” has died to sin, and a new creation filled with real life takes the place of the old life condemned to live in darkness.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The way is a person. Truth is a person. Life is a person. Since truth is both a person and an action, the true belief in Christ means my life will become transformed to look more and more like the person of Jesus Christ. Otherwise it’s just worthless cognitive information. No action in my heart and life means no real belief. “He who does the truth” must do so in the light so he can see and reflect upon what he’s doing so he can do it better. Being in the presence of the light is a choice I make. The brighter the light, the further I’ve moved into a state of harmony with the Holy Spirit within me.

Moral ambiguity doesn’t exist in the light because the light shows me that what I do is done in God. The light burns. It reveals. It uncovers all the hidden filth in my life that I want to keep hidden from my God, my family, and my community.

Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free to walk in the light.