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Sunday, January 1, 2017
The Truth Will Set You Free BY RICK WARREN — JANUARY 1 Sunday
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body” (Ephesians 4:21-25 NLT, second edition).
The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself, your relationships, and your own nature if you want to change anything in your life.
Why is it necessary to learn the truth before anything can change in your life? Because behind every self-defeating habit in your life is a lie that you believe. If you get in debt, it’s because you believed some lies like, “I can spend and get away with it” or “I can always pay it back.” You might have overestimated how much you were going to make, or you believed the lie that you needed a much bigger house.
But do you? Are you sure it’s the truth? Can you prove it’s the truth? Are you absolutely certain that what you believe you’ve said about your finances is true? What about your relationships? What about the things you say to yourself about yourself? Is the way you think about your past or about some event the truth, or is the truth what God says about it?
The Bible teaches that personal change starts with truth. It is the truth that sets you free! The Apostle Paul says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him . . .” (Ephesians 4:21 NLT, second edition). Who is the truth? Jesus, and because Jesus is the truth, he will always tell you the truth. His Word is the truth. The Bible is his Word, and that means the Bible is truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
What you hear on television or read in books isn’t always going to help you, because it’s not always the truth. Have you learned that? But what God tells you is always going to be the truth. God’s Word shows you how to get back to the life you were created to live, and then it shows you how to stay on God’s path.
This is why it is so important for you to have a daily quiet time in the Word of God: Change requires learning the truth. As long as you build your life on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, deceptions, or half-truths, you will never change. But when you face the truth and respond to the truth, you will begin to see change in your life.