Shop til You Drop
“…you will know the truth, and the truth (that you know, emphasis mine) will set you free. John NIV
Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. Prov. 23:23
The truth that you know will set you free, but the truth itself is not free; it comes at a cost. In life there are no “free lunches”. This applies to things in the spiritual realm as well as the natural.
To “buy the truth” indicates there is value assigned to it. Payment takes on many forms: time, effort, persistence, sacrifice, money, etc. To acquire truth one must pay the price. For example, in an ongoing quest to know truths that transform, I am attempting to read a chapter from Proverbs daily. This requires time I could spend doing other things. I am on my fourth cycle of reading the book and only on this round did that particular scripture catch my attention. Over the course of thirty plus years, how many times and in how many different translations have I read this verse? I have no idea. Why did it impact me now and not before? No clue. I do know this; I have found a gem of truth because I spent time in God’s Word searching. Do I know all that this verse has to teach me? Not yet. I need to allocate time and effort to study, meditate and pray about what “buying the truth” looks like. Part of my discovery process is writing this blog post. Doing so helps me assemble my jumbled thoughts and ideas into a cohesive (hopefully) essay. From this foundation I can begin to build a path that leads from mental assent (agreeing something is true), to faith (believing something is true), to KNOWING it is true. When I know the truth, it has the power to make me free.
Salvation is an example of how this process unfolds. If questioned, one may agree Jesus was a real historical figure. One may also conclude He was a great teacher, a kind person, a miracle worker, a spiritual mystic or prophet. In terms of salvation according to biblical standards, those opinions are insufficient. Roman 10:9-10 teaches that salvation necessitates one confess Jesus is Lord and believe in one’s heart that God raised Him from the dead. One must move from simply acknowledging Jesus existed, to by an act of one’s will, submitting to His Lordship. That takes faith.
Faith is not static but capable of developing and growing. Romans NIV states, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” “Hearing” in Greek means to hear something repeatedly. If one goes past agreeing that Jesus existed, to confessing Him as Lord, but no further, will one experience all the freedom that salvation encompasses? Possibly not.
If all salvation accomplished was keeping one out of hell, it is still the deal of a lifetime. The words for salvation, soteria, and for saved, sozo, in the original Greek language have connotations of being made whole in every aspect of our lives. Healing and restoration to health, preservation from danger and rescue in perilous situations are also included. What prevents someone from experiencing all salvation affords? Ignorance of what this gift contains. Salvation allows one to receive Heavenly benefits now, in this lifetime. These do come at a price. One needs to develop an intimate relationship with God through prayer, praise and worship, and with His Word through reading, studying and meditating upon it. To obtain maximum results one must reorder one’s priorities to make the pursuit the truth of paramount importance.
Matthew 13:44-46 relates two short parables that describe such efforts. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure tells of a man who discovered something of great value in a field. He temporarily re-hid the find, sold all he owned and bought the field. Now he rightfully possessed the land and all it would yield. The Parable of the
Pearl refers to
merchant looking for fine pearls. In that day, pearls were more rare than
gemstones which made them more valuable. The merchant found a pearl of
exceptional quality. He also sold all he owned in order to purchase the treasure
he found. Both of these examples are of natural elements that pale in
comparison to “the riches in glory, in
Christ Jesus.” Philippians NIV How many of us are willing to exhaust
our time and resources to obtain what is inestimable worth?
“Buying the truth” is worth all we give to find and possess it. When we progress through mental assent and faith, we reach a pinnacle. We no longer need faith to believe, we now KNOW. This knowledge is unshakable and brings release to our life. Questions and doubts that plagued us are now non-issues. What we “know” is bedrock for future growth and development. The exciting part, we will never lack new frontiers of faith to explore. We will only begin to scratch the surface of all there is to learn during this brief stint of eternity called life on earth.
We can focus our efforts and resources to acquire possessions to leave behind. Or we can turn our attention to the pursuit of truth, exploring every aspect it and finding freedom along the way. There are no limits to how much we can buy, and the supply is endless. So, “On your mark, get set, go!” and shop til you drop, literally.