To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The final words of this quote are some of the most well known of all Jesus’ teachings. Unfortunately, they are hardly ever used or understood as He meant them. Notice what came just before the promise of truth and the freedom it brings: holding to His teachings and truly being His disciples.
You, Disciple, have been welcomed into the full freedom of life in God’s kingdom that comes from knowing and living in the truth. You are in the light, and the darkness no longer needs to keep you blind and afraid. You are a child in the household of God, and you no longer need to live like a slave to sin or to the Law. You have been brought home to the safety and belonging of the Shepherd’s fold, and you no longer stray helplessly toward danger on your own. You are a new creation, and the old way of the Enemy has no longer has any claim on you.
Rejoice today, Disciple, because your new life flows through the Spirit and Word of your Master, and He delights to give it to you! He delights to bring this power and newness to all His disciples. We must never forget, though, that discipleship is an active and purposeful process. It requires that we hold to His teaching – hearing Him and then trusting Him enough to do what He says. It certainly isn’t enough to simply agree with what He says. Disciples obey because they love and trust the Wise One who speaks. Didn’t He say that if we love Him, we’ll obey His commands (John 14:23-24)? This isn’t legalism. This is simply the way relationship with a King works.
Legalism insists that obedience to rules and regulations is somehow a source of righteousness. Jesus insists that, instead, the source of obedience is righteousness. Righteousness flows into obedience because it is born out of trust in the goodness, wisdom, and authority of our glorious Master.
Hold to His teaching today, Disciple. Cherish His words. Practice doing what He said to do and confidently rely on the His Spirit to be there as you do. Practice being forgiving, generous, sacrificial, worry-less, eternity-minded, genuinely worshipful, etc. He calls you to do things that you really can do with His help. As you do these things, you will find that you are experiencing true and joyous freedom. If He has set you free, you are free indeed – free to be the human being God has always meant for you to be. You are free to love without hesitation, give without fear, and serve without reservation. You are free to be relaxed in God’s good hands even as you pour yourself out to bring life to others. You are free to be a joyful member of God’s Kingdom that will never end.
Walking in freedom with you,