The truth is important because it points us to what we need to do. This is especially true for those of us who follow Jesus.
If we are not acting on the truth we have been taught then we are not really following Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Truth. To be a disciple of Jesus requires action and not just belief.
When it comes to evaluating our lives, I believe we need to begin in this question: do our lives reflect the truth we believe?
The trap that many Christians fall into is passing judgment on the world. We love to shine a light on what other people are doing wrong, but we hate to shine that light inwards. We don’t want to be reminded of the ways we fail.
This is why I hate going to the doctor. I hate being reminded that I need to lose weight. The issue with my weight isn’t that I don’t know that it is a problem, it isn’t a lack of knowledge of what to do, but it is a lack of action. I don’t use my knowledge, rather I allow my flesh to guide me. This leads me to give into cravings more often than not.
Getting the right information is easy, but because you have to fight against habits and addictions, it is often difficult to change behavior. Remember: Knowledge doesn’t translate into action. This is why James said that faith without works is dead. If faith did not require action, then having the right knowledge would be enough.
The issue of action isn’t just about us and our relationship with God. This issue is also about what will bring the greatest benefit to the Kingdom of God. William Barclay wrote, “The world is full of talk about Christianity, but one deed is worth a thousand words.”
Our deeds and the way we choose to live make all the difference in the world. When we live out our beliefs our actions become the very evidence people need to know that the Gospel is true.
The knowledge of truth is essential to the life of faith.
I have also been around long enough to realize that the intellectual pursuit of truth can overwhelm the ordinary person. This is not to say that the works of the scholar and the apologist are not important, but it is to say that what many people are looking for is something that is practical rather than something that is intellectual. It is crucial to remember that the average person wants something that makes sense of life right now, and not something that will take a long time to figure out.
When we live out the truth God has revealed to us, we demonstrate that God’s Word is relevant to people’s lives today. Our lives provide the context of what it means to live a life of faith and to follow Jesus. Our hope is that our actions will make people stop and wonder why we live the way we do. A few might even be drawn to the life of faith that we live.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16, NLT)
In order to live the truth we have to first worship Jesus as Lord. We are not going to obey Jesus if we don’t not believe that he the Son of God. What we believe about Jesus is going to have a ripple effect through out our entire life.
Not only do we have worship Jesus, but we need to live with hope. Hope is the result of the trust we have in the promises of God. When we trust that God will keep His promises, then our lives will be lived out in the context of hope.
The result of living by truth, according to Peter, is that people will be drawn to Jesus. Notice what Peter wrote, we need to be ready to explain our hope. In other words, people will notice that we differently, and that will lead them to ask us about our secret. Peter wants us to be ready to tell people know about the hope available in Jesus.
The first step in guiding people to the truth of the Gospel is to live the truth. One of the ways people judge truth is based on whether or not it works. By living out the truth we believe we provide people the opportunity to judge the merits of the Gospel.
We need to speak the truth, but never forget the importance of living the truth. It is the evidence that some people need for believing the Gospel.