“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
– John 17:17 [KJV]
If we’re not careful, we can fall into the habit of judging things, life, and situations by our feelings. There’s a degree of comfort in governing things by what we think we know; however, for Christians, this is problematic. The prohibition of not leaning to one’s understanding is keen if we admit there’s a tendency to do so. As rational beings and emotive creatures, we have a right to think and feel as designed by our Creator, but should these capabilities control and determine the fate of our lives? No, truth must reign because it is anchored, fixed by God’s very being, and settled by His wisdom; the Truth is the only thing to lean on in making decisions and living life in general.
In Christ’s priestly prayer, as recorded in the 17th chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus prays about truth. It’s worth noting that Christ doesn’t pray that we should have a general knowledge of the truth because this can trip people up. Christians can fill their libraries with ornate books detailing various facts expressed in Scripture and still become doubting concerning promises from the Immutable One. While some have become wise from the lessons in their bibles, some still need to improve in their failure to apply those lessons. Further, Christ didn’t pray believers ought to love the truth, for this alone doesn’t guarantee dependence on it. Many saints are inspired and moved by their passions from Scripture rightly expressed. They are anon moved to joy and delight at the expression of promises fulfilled or an attribute of God to be explored. However, the tempter bides his time and waits until the emotion passes to suggest anxiety or unbelief because of hopes dashed by the duration of time. We conveniently overlook the verses admonishing us to wait on the Lord and be of good courage because our emotions made us feel it was around the corner. In the Lord’s wisdom, He prayed not for our knowledge of the truth or our feelings towards truth but that the truth should sanctify us.
What is meant by the word “sanctify”? Our understanding of it will benefit us in our apprehension of exalting truth. The word means to cleanse or purify. A thing or person set apart or sanctified must, of necessity, undergo consecration not to be an offense to a holy God. Therefore the priests, their garments, and their tools required purging to be used in the service of the Lord in the ministry of the Tabernacle. How does this apply to our evaluation of truth? Our natures, because of the Fall of Adam, require washing. This cleaning is necessary to appraise our reality as God would have us to. This requires us to be spiritual and not rely on our carnal or corrupted observations. Without this, we would fall prey to seeing things from an earthly and natural perspective, subjecting everything to our ability to comprehend or understand, which is an error. Dear Christian, the truth of God’s word must transform our views so we can rightly relate to our experiences. The truth should impact us! It should affect our natures to such a degree that we begin to view our life through the insight of God’s revealed will and purpose for our lives. Therefore, its incumbent upon us to sift all our external perceptions through the filter of God’s truth. This separates us not only for a particular use but also for unique understanding because the revelation of God has framed our outlook and worldview.
Consequently, and because of our relationship to God’s word, the truth will starkly contrast with our feelings, reason, and earthly wisdom. I realize this is easier said than done; however, our Lord has already prayed for us on behalf of this. We merely need to practice the transcendence of truth so that every whim of thought or emotion does not move us. The truth should transcend all these, especially as we become more aware of its faithfulness and become settled in its security. Regardless of how we may feel despite all we might be feeling, our hearts should cry, “let God be true and every man a liar, even if that man is me.”