There are many words we tend to think of as abstract concepts or principles, which should really be viewed as action words. One such word is truth. Throughout the ages many have asked along with the …
There are many words we tend to think of as abstract concepts or principles, which should really be viewed as action words. One such word is truth. Throughout the ages many have asked along with the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Truth is much more than a concept or principle. We can acknowledge a principle as truth, but if we do not practice that principle in our lives, then we have not adopted it as truth to us.
We can say something is true, but until we start living it out, it is a mere principle that really has no bearing upon us and thus cannot change our lives for the better. We can acknowledge the scientific proof that if we stop eating sugar, we will be healthier and lose weight. But unless we actually take the action to apply it, it is not our truth.
We can always rely on God's word as truth, but it will not be truth to us if we do not apply it to our lives. For example, Philippians 2:14-15 says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.” If we do not put action to this truth, and constantly complain and argue with others, we can expect to be criticized and people will avoid us.
John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But just knowing the truth of God's word is only the beginning. We must take action and apply this truth if we expect to see lasting change in our lives.
Another word that can be viewed as an abstract concept is repentance. Repentance is not just being sorry for something we've done. It's not about giving lip service and saying the words, no matter how sincere we may feel at the time. It involves so much more. Repentance requires us to put action to our sorrow.
The true meaning of repentance is to change the way we think and act. It requires us to think and act in a way that is a complete turnaround, to practice a new and better truth that will bring long-term and lasting change to our lives. That is why we cannot just repent of our sins in general.
True repentance involves naming the sin we are repenting of. If we don't name the sin, how will we know what we need to change? We must know specifically what thoughts and actions need to change in order to live out our repentance so as not to be repeat offenders.
As in the above example of constantly complaining and arguing, once we acknowledge this is a truth we need to apply to our lives, we must repent of complaining and arguing and take action steps to change the way we think and act in this area. I Thessalonians 5:18 says to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” We must begin to notice when we complain and argue, and take the deliberate action to give thanks instead. This is how we change the way we think and act - practice, practice, practice.
As we begin to view the words truth and repentance as action words rather than nice principles, we can take the required action steps to apply them and change our lives.
Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling center, and we are here to help. If you would like to speak confidentially with someone, give us a call at 482-5300.