Once again, Jesus said that He teaches “the truth”. He made this bold claim in the last post, too, and now He continues, saying that, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Hold to Jesus’ Teaching……Like a Lifeline!
What do you hold closely and dearly? Your children or grandchildren? Your marriage? A strong belief in a cause, like Right to Life? A ritual that provides a sense of order and control? Your position at work? Your material possessions? Jesus said we are to hold to His teaching, which means to follow closely what He taught and cling to it dearly. The analogy is how you would cling to a life preserver if you were lost at sea. What Jesus said is a lifeline that we cling to and hold near and dear.
Truth = Freedom!
Years ago, when I would read this scripture, I thought about the truth as knowing God, knowing His plan for salvation, being saved by Jesus, and how knowing that set me free from sin. This is all true. In addition, I now have a deeper understanding of the freedom Jesus offers his disciples, and that is freedom for everyday living. There is tremendous freedom is letting go and letting God, on ALL levels! That is the deeper level of freedom that Jesus is also talking about in these scriptures. What He offers is nothing less than total and complete FREEDOM, here and now! Who doesn’t want that?
Freedom from Inner Turmoil
The more I know God, the more I trust Him. The more I trust Him, the more I lean on Him and let Him direct and guide my life. The more I let Him direct and guide my life, the more I give up worrying and trying to control what is going on around me. I have given up getting annoyed, offended, and hurt by people. If it happened, either: (1) God allowed it, so I need to learn from it; or (2) an injustice was done to me, and God will be my vindicator when and how He chooses. My duty is to pray about it, forgive, and move on in love. THAT’S IT! That simplicity is freedom!
When you are hurt by other people, don’t concentrate on your feelings; instead, hold to God’s Word, His love, and His commands. Eventually, the feelings will dissipate. Yes, you will experience suffering while they are there, but they will go away, if you don’t focus on them. Focus and cling to God’s Word instead. That is where YOUR freedom lies!
Freedom from Being a Slave to Sin
The more I know God, the more I trust Him. The more I trust Him, the more I lean on Him and let Him direct and guide my life. The more I let Him direct and guide my life, the more aware I am when I am tempted to sin. To just fall into sin, create a mess, and then have to deal with the mess……there is NO freedom in that! It is clear that we will be tempted; Jesus said so in The Lord’s Prayer when He instructed us to pray so that we don’t fall into it (Matthew 6:13).
Instead of just falling into it, Jesus offers another way: Hold and cling to His teaching! Face the temptation to sin with prayer, God’s Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Meditate on Jesus’ example, and your conscious decision to NOT sin. Don’t allow yourself to be “led into temptation”. You will experience suffering while being tempted, but the temptation will go away, just as the devil did when he tempted Jesus in Luke 4:13. Don’t focus on the temptation; instead, hold to Jesus’ teaching, God’s Word, and His promises. Repeat scriptures out loud, pray, call a friend and pray together, go help someone, etc. You are NOT a slave to sin! You do NOT have to fall into it! You are FREE! Jesus said so! Claim that freedom and live in it!
Call to Action
Make it your goal this week to hold to Jesus’ teaching and walk in the freedom it offers. To remind you of this focus, do at least one of the following:
- Memorize one or two scriptures that you can “cling to” during the day. You can use the two scriptures referenced in this post. Or, if you are struggling with a specific sin, choose scriptures that directly address it.
- Take your Bible with you to work. Keep it nearby, like you would a life preserver, so you can easily look up a scripture during the day. Don’t be timid about it. Leave it right on your desk, to remind yourself to use it as needed!
- Set your computer desktop background to the image of a life preserver, like the image that goes with this post. This will remind you to “hold to” what Jesus said, for in His teaching your true freedom lies!