Truth? Or Error?

What is the truth? Is there an absolute truth? How do we discern whether or not something is false or true? These are questions that we face as we travel the spiritual path. They are important questions, but they are questions that we often want simple, easy answers too. If that is what you are looking for, watch out because you can become trapped into simplistic answers that can keep you stuck for a very long time!

In order to move forward in life, in any endeavor, it is important that we be constantly growing and expanding our ideas. Just think of how the concept of truth has expanded over the centuries. At one time people were certain that the world was flat. They would have staked their lives on that assumption. In musical spheres people believed that certain musical intervals were evil—a tri-tone was thought to invoke the devil! Amazingly we use that musical interval in our music all of the time and have no problem with it.

The spiritual realm is no different. Our understanding of God should grow as our understanding of the universe grows. There is, however, one absolute truth that the scriptures make absolutely clear for us. That is the fact that God is love. This is the premise that we can approach our spiritual journey from. 1 John 4:16 reminds us that, “God is love”. John 3:16 tells us that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” This is the one truth that we know for a certainty and if we approach everything else from that perspective we will have a sure foundation for our spiritual growth and understanding of who God is.

The story of the woman at the well is very familiar to most of us. It is found in John 4. Christ is speaking with a woman, which for His time was a marvel in and of itself. The woman was also a Samaritan, a race of people whom the Jews despised. So Christ had already crossed two cultural boundaries in engaging this woman. There was actually a third barrier He crossed—He was discussing spiritual issues with her. In the Jewish tradition, sacred learning was generally a man’s domain. He reveals to her truths that even the disciples had not yet comprehended.

He states very clearly, “God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” We have just been told that God is love in the previous chapter. We know this to be the “truth” that He is referring to. Christ has just revealed that God is Spirit and that to worship Him we must also worship in spirit and in love.

This is the path of gnosis. Gnosis is an inner knowing of God, it is a journey with God’s Spirit in love. Paul reminds us that, “Christ lives in you.” If we start our journey with God by inviting the Spirit to live within us and we ask to be filled with the love of God, we have started a journey to seek knowledge of whom God is. We will never arrive. We will never completely know God. When we start to get a picture of God if we receive more of Spirit our understanding and picture will enlarge.

Christ never participated in theological debates. He always pointed to truth (God is love) and shown the light on the path of those wanting to move forward. He didn’t spend His time talking about error; He merely presented truth to shine forth. When God’s Spirit lives within us, it will lead us into all truth as John 8 reminds us, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

We would be wise to spend more of our time discovering truth than so much of our time debating error. The light of truth always dispels the shadows of error. Whenever you meet up with someone who spends all of their time pointing out “error” you can know that they are not spending their time pursuing truth. We only have so much time and energy. We need to choose wisely whether we are on the path of debate or the path of learning.

Each of us is responsible for our own spiritual journey. Joining a denomination will not “save” us. Holding a particular set of beliefs cannot in and of itself save us. We have to personally know God. It is by becoming an instrument of His love and a messenger of His peace to the world that we are transformed. It is love that compels, it is love that frees, it is love that smoothes the way, and it is love that draws us to God to spend time in relationship with our Creator every day.