I love reading. As a child I loved reading. As an adult I love reading. I can get excited about words and putting them all together. I get excited about stories. And I used to love fantasy adventures. I actually got hooked on fantasy. It was all I was reading. Fantasy after fantasy. Until it hit me that something was missing. I started to realize that I was missing out on a better thing.
Here I was, pregnant with my first child, and it hit me as I was reading fantasies and thinking about fantasies, that I’m a believer, I know You, Jesus, and yet there I was spending more time in fantasy than I was in Your Word and with You. And I discovered something at that moment. I discovered that fantasy can become deception that draws me away from the reality of You.
Now, I’m not saying that all fantasy at all times is bad. I mean even You, Jesus, used a form of fantasy for teaching, because You used parables and a parable is a type of realistic fiction. But I also notice that there is usually a progression in our life. I can look at the example of George MacDonald, Scottish author, poet, and minister from the 1800’s. This believer inspired many others by his skills in fantasy, authors like J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. Some of these authors are strong believers, but not all. And yes, I have read works by all of them. And in the believers, I have seen a trend. Over time, their writing tends to move from the fully fanciful/allegorical to realistic fiction or straight out dealing with reality, especially Biblical Gospel reality. The writing goes from a sweetly masked truth that you tend to search out from the surroundings, to full blown, let’s just straight out talk about the truth. Why?
I wonder if as we mature in faith, in our walk with You, Lord, all Your reality just starts to become so clear that it’s really all we want to think about. That when You become that beautiful, that lovely, that amazing, that powerful, maybe I don’t need to cloud You in fantasy any more. Maybe I’ve just really started grasping the real You so much, that now I know that You beat fantasy on every side.
Now, today, I want to make sure that I look at this according to Your Word, Lord. So I did some searching. I wanted to find out what the Greek word that would represent “real” or “reality” would have been. And I was pointed to the word “aletheia.” It’s the word for truth.
This word is not just used in the New Testament. We find it used 126 times in the Septuagent (Old Testament). Here “it means a reality that is solid, binding, that can be counted on.” (Skip Moen) It can refer to a person’s character, yet it also refers to Your character, God. It points to the fact that because You are Truth, all Your actions are reliable, all Your promises are true, You are always Holy, always trustworthy. Your character and actions can always be counted on. I can know what to expect of You, always.
Notice that “alethiea” is more than knowing facts. It’s not just knowing about You, God or knowing about something. It’s knowing combined with the actions. It’s knowing You as You really are or knowing something as it really is. It’s breaking into reality and tearing down the false appearances. I tear down the veil, or more rightly, let You tear down the veil so I can see the way things really are. We get rid of the illusions, distractions, or whatever is distorting our vision.
I can hop back to Matthew 22:16. And some disciples of the Word came to You, Lord. They even said, “Teacher we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully…” But did they really know? Did they really believe? Or were they still caught up in their own distortion, speaking the words they should speak to get the answer or the outcome they wanted? See, fantasy can give you any outcome you want. But it doesn’t necessarily give you the best outcome. They were seeking their way, not the Answer. They were looking for their reality, not Reality Itself. You were standing right there and they missed You.
Well, let’s go to Mark 12:32. Another scribe goes one step farther. Good for him. “And the scribe said unto Him, ‘Well, Master, you have said the truth…” Well, there we have it. Someone agrees with You, Lord. But is agreeing the same as coming to reality? Was his life changed because he agreed. Was there a combination of truth and action and was it motivated in You? Because reality goes deeper than agreeing.
If aletheia is more than agreeing, if it is really more than correct facts and evidence and statements, then what is it? Aletheia is about truth and action that only comes about by relationship. It’s not about accuracy. It’s about a personal relationship with the One True God, about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself. If you hear Him, and you say you agree with Him, but you walk away from Him, then you haven’t grasped the reality, the truth. See, You Jesus said, “I am the truth.” You meant it. It’s not just about believing Your Words, it’s about believing You are who You are. It’s about existence. And our existence is bound up in Your existence. See, existence is reality. Being is reality. Reality is being. And as Skip Moen shared, “the final, ultimate foundation of existence is who [You are], that the Truth about Life is God dwelling among us.”
John saw it. John ran to the Truth. He grasped Him. He leaned on His chest. I’ve always loved John and his closeness to You, Lord. That’s the kind of intimacy I want with You. John tells us, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Did you notice that the Word is tied in with grace and truth here?
The “Word” -“logos” and truth are intimately linked. Ah! I love that word intimate! For the Greek, this wasn’t just a word represented on a page. Logos was “an active, almost divine, animate principle whose job it was to reveal.” (Skip Moen) And what does it reveal? What if You, Lord, came to reveal aletheia? Isn’t that what Your logos does? Greeks sought knowledge but You want us to seek Knowledge. I can know the answer to my existence. I can understand being. I can have my eyes unclouded. But it goes like this: I can intimately know the One who is my Existence. I can intimately understand Being because I know Him and He knows me and I am in Him and He is in me. And He can uncloud my eyes. Yes, I can know You intimately which is a far greater knowledge than any amount of facts. And, it is a far more powerful knowledge.
Right now, I may be searching for the answers about my existence and my life in all the right places. But John and Jesus are calling out and showing where I need to look. Do I want to know the truth? Do I want to know reality? Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17) I must look into Him. But is looking enough? Can I just look at reality and will reality, will truth become mine?
John tells me that “he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21) I can’t just agree. I have to commit to the truth, or actually commit to the Truth. Jesus, You aren’t just facts or good teachings. You are the way, the truth , and the life. I have to commit to Your way, Your truth, and Your life. I have to agree and follow; I have to agree and do. And doing here isn’t about just doing the actions or the work. It’s that word “poieo” in Greek that I love. Because it’s what flows out of me from what You have done in me. It’s like the creativity that flows out of the artist or poet or song writer. You can’t hold it in because it is part of being. So You aren’t telling me that I must just agree with You and then follow Your teachings. You are telling me that I become one with You and therefore Your ways will begin to naturally flow from me. That’s the level of intimacy that You are looking for. This is living in the reality of You. This is true Existence and it is in You.
I’m not just making this up here. John quoted Your own words to us. You said, “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) So put “poeia” together with Jesus’ words here. What have I got? Well, if Scripture tells me that only God is true, then the only way I can worship Him in truth is to be in Him. I can’t be a true worshipper without His help, no, His work in me. Face it, I’m not true on my own and I can’t be true on my own. My heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yes, I agree with Scripture, I agree with You, Lord, on that. But agreeing isn’t enough. I must commit to You and in You so that Your Spirit can give me an existence of truth in You. Your Being and mine must become united or I shall never be able to worship You.
Am I searching for Truth? Am I searching for Reality? Am I searching for what Being really is? You, Lord, tell me I can find it and actually KNOW it. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free?” (John 8:32) What will it make me free from? Or what will it make me free for?
For starters and enders, searching for the Truth and finding it makes me to KNOW Jesus and to KNOW God intimately and it enables me. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.” I can’t fully experience my existence until I know the Existent One. I can’t fully experience all that is intended for my own being until I experience Being Himself. Until I am in You, until I know You, until I am Yours, I won’t know my purpose, I won’t experience the fulness of the reality of life, and I won’t even have an inkling of understanding ultimate truth. But in You, I am free to know and experience and live in the reality of You, in the reality of all that was purposed for all of creation and for me. I am free to live and to know and free to open that door for others to enter and experience that same overwhelming joy and love and truth in You!
You committed to me from the beginning of time. But I witnessed it in it’s fruition when You sacrificed Your life on the cross for me, when You paid the penalty for my sins and suffered the wrath of Your Father that should have been upon me and the rest of mankind. You committed Your life to me first. To me who wouldn’t even exist without You. And You seek me to commit my life, my all to You. And when I do, we become one, yet You are always Supreme. But in Your grace and truth You impart to each committed believer Your Spirit, that Spirit of truth. Yes, inside us, You place Your Spirit of Being, of Existence, so that we can not only understand You and know You, but so that we have Someone who will guide us into Your ways. Think about that. I have Your Reality, Your very own Being residing, dwelling inside me and empowering me and teaching me and loving me and keeping me for as long as You shall live. Did I get that? For as long as You shall live! That’s forever! I will never be left comfortless!
And that comfort isn’t about a life of ease. It’s about a life of Being! Your Spirit will “guide [me] into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” See, the Spirit is always “poeia”ing in our lives. He’s continually guiding, directing, empowering, drawing us closer to Him, making us more like Him, bringing us to life in the reality of You.
So I’ve come to love the Word of God, Your Word, more than I love any other books. Now I would rather spend time in Your Word, because it’s time with You. Your Word is truth. No, Your Word is Truth. It is Reality. It is Power. It is Grace. It is Existence. It is Being. Why? Because it is You and outside of You is nothing but lack and emptiness. And it’s You and You alone, by Your Word and the power in Your Word that can bring me life, that can teach me and empower me to live for real, in the real world of You, in Your world.
You know, I just realized that Pilate didn’t first ask You, Jesus, “What is truth?” You were the One who started identifying it for Him. Here’s what You said, “You say that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37) But Pilate’s eyes and mind were clouded. There were cultural teachings and Jews and Romans to please. Jesus, culture, Jews, Romans, which one was the truth? He couldn’t make a decision to commit at that time. There were too many things pulling, too many delusions at once. I hope that after he had time to think and see things unfold, that he decided to commit to Reality. One day I’ll know if he did.
Now I need to make one more jump here. Because if I want to know the purpose of my existence, if I want to grasp reality and understand what love really is, then I have to know Him, I have to know You. In You I can not only know truth but I can know and experience love because You are Love. 1 Corinthinans 13:6 uses the phrase “rejoices with the truth.” But it means more that rejoicing alongside with. It is an actual rejoicing together with, in unity with. Pardon my grammar and ending the sentence with a preposition but I meant to do that. Because I want to ask, who am I rejoicing in unity with? This is rejoicing in relationship with Jesus, with God, with the Holy Spirit. But that’s not all. This is rejoicing in truth with everyone who is connected in that same relationship. There is an intimacy between us. There is a reality and truth that binds us together. “There is a connection so deep that someone actually suffers with another.” (Skip Moen) Am I seeking that kind of relationship? Am I willing to be crucified with Christ? Am I willing to die together with You, Lord? Am I willing to rise together with You and to live together with You? For this alone is Reality, this is Truth. You Are It. As Skip puts it, Your “love is the final Truth of existence.” John puts it this way, “God is love.”
You are the bottom line, Lord. You are Reality. You are so much better than fiction, better than fantasy, better than everything. I would rather have one day in Your courts than thousands anywhere else. All my answers are answered in You. All my desires are filled in You. All my hopes and longings and dreams come true in You. In You I know who I am and why I am and what my purpose is and in You I have everything I need to fulfil that purpose. And in You, the beautiful thing is that I can just be. I don’t have to do. You do in me because I can’t do. You are writing Your song in my heart and out it comes. You are sculpting me into something beautiful and people notice Your work when they see me. You are writing encouraging words in my heart and out they flow, naturally. It’s not work; it’s pleasure, it’s joy, it’s spending time with You.
Now there are realities about You that I knew as a child and today, those childhood memories of You are just as strong and just as real. But when I was a child and thought in childlike ways and fanciful ways about You, that’s not the case any more. Now You have brought me to maturity in You and I have a better than clearer picture. I have a firsthand experience of the Truth. What I saw as a child I have experienced in my growing. Once I wished to walk with You, now I do. And fantasy can’t compare. The Reality and Presence of You in my life and in the life of every believer so surpasses everything I could have ever dreamed of. Only You are Real, and I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than in You.