Friend, I’m so excited to share my message from Jennie Allen’s women’s conference, IF:Gathering 2022, with you! This message is so needed in our world today and I encourage you to watch the full version here 🙂
Jennie actually asked me to preach on a specific topic. She asked me to preach on the difference between my truth and God’s truth. That’s a big topic. And if you’re in the Millennial or Gen Z day in age, you know that’s a really big battle that we’re facing. You see everywhere, “live your truth.” Literally, Christian and I were in LA recently and there was a huge billboard that said, “We the youth, live your truth!” It’s everywhere. This message is parading saying your truth will set you free and it’s the best way to live. But friend, I’m here to tell you that is a lie.
I want to start by giving some background on what this generation is believing when it comes to “your truth.” Urban Dictionary is a database where the most liked definition of a term becomes the proposed definition. So, here’s what Urban Dictionary says “my truth” is:
“A non-negotiable personal opinion. This is a convenient phrase for avoiding arguments because people can contradict your opinion, but not your truth.”
That’s actually kind of scary because there’s a generation that can put “my truth” behind whatever they’re feeling in a moment. And as long as it’s their truth, you can’t argue it. Used to, it seemed like the truth was pretty straight forward. We almost all knew that telling someone the truth was the most loving thing you could do. Like, if someone sitting across from me at lunch has a giant spinach leaf in their teeth, the best thing you could do in that moment is to tell that person that they have spinach in their teeth. It may be awkward, but it’s loving.
But nowadays it gets really tricky because you could literally tell someone they have spinach in their teeth and they could say, “No I don’t.” And they would stand strong to that statement because it’s their truth. Circumstances like this can get you questioning what actually is true.
What’s really difficult is when nothing is true, then what is love? What is freedom? What is anything if we don’t have a foundation of truth? It seems like this is a problem that just our generation is facing, but this has been around for a very long time, even back in Jesus’ day.
In John chapter 18, Jesus is talking to Pilate because at this point in the story, the Jews were so fed up with Jesus. He was challenging everything they believed and they were ready to get rid of Him. Since they wouldn’t kill people, they thought that if they made Jesus look bad enough to the Romans, they might crucify Him. So they turn Him in and Jesus begins having this conversation with Pilate when the truth becomes super confusing. Here’s how the conversation goes:
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.” (John 18:35-38)
You see, this question dates all the way back to when Pilate asks Jesus, “what is truth?” Pilate had to have felt like the truth was so confusing because the Jews were saying one thing about Jesus and Jesus was claiming another. After this moment, Pilate goes away and tells the Jews he finds no guilt in Jesus. He begins claiming his own truth.
“With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.” (John 18:38-40)
Barabbas was a robber. This sounds crazy, right? Here Jesus is, healing the sick, making the blind see, feeding the 5,000, and Pilate doesn’t personally see any Guilt in Him. And the people still chose Barabbas. That’s what happens when you don’t have a foundation of truth. Whatever the majority says is true becomes true to you. Pilate knew there was nothing wrong with Jesus. But because the crowd said, “Give us Barabbas,” the truth changed. We live in a generation that allows the majority to rule. Whatever Instagram, Tiktok, or the news says is the truth. We don’t even need to fact check it. If everyone says it’s true, then it must be true.
Proverbs 12:15 says this:
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
I don’t want to be a generation of fools thinking our truth is the right truth. Just like when the people wanted to release Barabbas, a criminal who was actually dangerous, it didn’t make sense. Your truth is not really concerned with what makes sense or what’s better in the long run. Your truth is always going to seek what is the most comfortable thing in the moment. And Jesus made them so uncomfortable. Your truth allows you to stay the same. THE truth requires change. It requires repentance and a heart shift toward Him.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
When I was preparing for this message, I couldn’t remember where that passage was in scripture. So I googled, “Where is the verse when Jesus said, ‘and the truth will set you free’?” The first thing that popped up said, “Who said the truth will set you free?” And it showed a list of people who have said this great line. Along with all these names was Jesus.
As I was reading this, I realized that’s the problem. That sentence is not true for anyone to say but Jesus. And do you know why it’s true when Jesus said it? It’s because when He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” He was literally talking about Himself. He knew that He holds the power beyond the grave. He knew He would resurrect from the dead to life. So, that’s actually true for Him to say.
His truth actually will set you free. Now, if I say that MY truth will set you free, it holds no power. It’s not true. Here’s a reminder that may seem obvious but I think we forget sometimes. The reason why the truth is powerful is because it’s true.
I want to mention something that Christian often says to me. He says I’m the most beautiful girl in the world. While this really is so sweet, deep down, the practical side of me thinks that that’s just not true. I know that sounds a bit silly, but I’ve seen some gorgeous women in this world. But what’s so powerful to me is when he says, “I love you.” I love this because I know it’s true. Even after all that we’ve been through together, he loves me. And the fact that that is true makes it so powerful.
We have a generation that would rather be puffed up than set free. They’d rather be told they’re the most beautiful girl in the world than “I love you.” They’d rather be told the thing that makes them feel the most god-like than be completely loved by God. But being loved by God is so much more powerful than any moment of power that you could ever feel.
I was on Instagram one day, and this whole idea of my truth vs. the truth is stuck in my head when I scroll past one of my favorite influencer’s post. I follow her simply because I like her clothes. There’s no real spiritual tie there, just to clarify. She began talking about Wonder Woman. And for those of you who don’t know, that’s my favorite movie.
So, I click to the next slide and begins talking about how thankful she is that women have a heroic figure like her to look up to because little boys have had these their whole life. Superman, Spider Man, Black Panther. Then I click to the next slide and she says, “All of this got me thinking that maybe that’s why I don’t relate to God, because He’s a man. That’s probably why it’s never worked for me. So I heard someone talking about a woman version of God and I started praying to her. It’s been so empowering for me and my daughters.”
I sat back and thought about how tricky situations like that can get. Because she had me with Wonder Woman and the idea of her being an inspiration. But it got tricky when she took it to her relationship with God. See, if I didn’t have ears to discern the truth, it would have been easy for me to look at my own self and wonder if the same concept would work for me.
Then I clicked a few slides further and someone asked where she found that concept in scripture, and she literally said, “I actually haven’t. But if you find it, let me know.” There was no fact checking that took place to support her argument. But once again, the truth is powerful because the truth is true. Prayer is powerful because there is a real God in heaven who I am praying to. And yes, I call Him my Father. But that doesn’t mean I can’t relate to Him. He’s the one who knit me together in my mother’s womb and made me in His image.
Here’s the thing. Praying for your own empowerment won’t get you anywhere. It won’t stop the war going on and it won’t heal the sick. We have to pray for the power of God.
The enemy plays a game with us every day that we all know. Two truths and a lie. We played that game last year actually. We went out in Atlanta and asked a girl these questions:
- The “a” in Chick-fil-A stands for grade A meat.
- Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays.
- Chick-fil-A only uses born again chickens.
Y’all. She chose the first one. She legitimately chose the third one to be truth. What?! That’s hilarious now. But why did number 3 seem true? It’s because it was a lie mixed in with the truth. The enemy plays this same game with us. He says, “Oh you overslept this morning? True.” “Oh you’re not where you want to be in life? True.” “You’re worthless.” All of a sudden that lie seems true because the other two were true.
Let me tell you another thing the enemy does. He says, “Oh, you love your best friend. Your best friend’s beautiful. You’re attracted to your best friend.” And you think, “Wait a second. Is that true? Because the other two things were true, so maybe that means this its true.” When we’re not rooted in a foundation of truth, we begin to search those lies and see if they might be true so that we can be free. But we don’t stop long enough to say, “I find my true freedom in you, Jesus. You are the way, the truth, the life. I’m following You to get to everything my heart desires, which is God.” He is love, truth and power.
We look at the story of Jesus and Barabbas and wonder why they picked Barabbas. Well my question is, why do we choose Barabbas? Barabbas was known for three things. He was a murdered, a robber, and a rebel. These sound a lot like steal, kill, and destroy. The same characteristics of the father of lies.
You see, in life there will be a daily choice to hear the voice of truth or the lies of the enemy. Because the truth is we have a Savior and an enemy. Don’t choose Barabbas just because it’s more comfortable in a moment. Choose Jesus, because although it requires change from the inside out, it is purifying you in such a way that you can stand before a holy God blameless and truly feel the power of what freedom really is.