I find it interesting that we live in a world that promotes the self to the levels that it does. Personal progress and achievement trumps even time tested truths of sacrificial love, obedience, and submission to God. Instead, the new truth is whatever you make it. Can this be true?
Is truth what we make it? Or is truth, true? It can’t be both. Truth by its nature is exclusive. For example, is there a God or not? Pick a side. Or, is there a personal God or not? Pick a side. Or, what is the nature of God? Pick your dogma. Or, if we’re more spiritual, can’t we just “be?” Religions have answers to the questions – none agree. But all claim to have the truth.
To say that all religions are wrong (or ridiculous) is to only claim a new truth. This new truth, however, is not true just because it’s currently popular. To claim that all religions are basically the same (or lead to the same thing) reflects a dangerous ignorance of religion and religious belief.
2000 years ago, a Jew named Jesus made the outrageous claim that he is “truth.” That is, all truth is found in him. This radical claim was the end of all the truth questions above. Jesus wasn’t taking sides. He was saying, I am the side.
Jesus’ influence was and is so powerful, he forces a new decision – your way or allegiance to God’s Kingdom. The reality in this life is that we ultimately have two options.
One is to live for ourselves – i.e., we’ll find our own way, we’ll do what we need to do – we see this in the form of exercise, striving for success, relationships, spirituality – becoming one with nature. All this personal striving are ways to make ourselves complete. Or, to borrow a Christian term, to save ourselves. We may even try to save ourselves within religions (e.g., I’m going to do this perfectly, never break the Sabbath, follow all the rules, read all the books…etc).
The other option comes from Jesus. It’s totally unique. Jesus says come to me, I’ll make you complete. You will find completeness in me. You will find what you’ve always wanted. You will find what you’ve always been searching for with spirituality, yoga, green smoothies, exercise, success, drugs, sex, and the myriad of endeavors you embark on to save yourself. That said, he may have to crumble all our foundations and start again – this can be excruciating. Nevertheless, to all this, Jesus says, I’m the way, I’m the truth. Follow me.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson