Our Lord had no design of constructing a system of truth in intellectual forms. The truth of the moment in its relation to him, The Truth, was what he spoke. He spoke out of a region of realities which he knew could only be suggested, not represented, in the forms of intellect and speech. His words invade our darkness with vivid flashes of life and truth, rousing us with sharp stings of light to will our awaking, to arise from the dead and cry for the light which he can give, not in the lightning of words only, but in indwelling presence and power.
How, then, must the truth fare with those who, having neither glow nor insight, will build intellectual systems upon the words of our Lord, or of his disciples? A little child could understand Plato better than such as they could understand St. Paul. The sense they find in the words must be a sense small enough to pass through their narrow doors. And if mere words, without the interpreting sympathy, may mean almost anything, how shall the man, bent at best on the salvation of his own soul, understand, for instance, the meaning of that apostle who was ready to encounter banishment itself from the presence of Christ, that the beloved brethren of his nation might enter in? To men who are not simple, simple words are the most inexplicable of riddles.
by James House
Truth abounds around us. God's fatherly love for us is the greatest truth of all, hence all of His creations testify of His love. As we walk in the woods, stare across a coastline, gaze from a mountain top, or feel the peace of a sunrise, our souls are touched with the truth of His love. All truths work in harmony, pointing to this one great truth: that He Lives and He Loves us. As we find truths and grow in understanding of them, our sureness of God's love is strengthened, and our own capacity to love is increased. As we are created in God's image, we are intended know his truths and love in his image.
Words and intellectual effort can express the fact that we feel something is true, or that we understand and appreciate something of a truth, but words fail us in being able to convince others of that truth.
George MacDonald described our ability to know truth, and its workings within us this way:
"When the longing heart finds itself able to hope that the perfect is the fact, that the truth is alive, that the lovely is rooted in eternal purpose, it can go on without such proof as belongs to a lower stratum of things, and can not be had in these. When we rise into the mountain air, we require no other testimony than that of our lungs that we are in a healthful atmosphere. We do not find it necessary to submit it to a quantitative analysis; we are content that we breathe with joy, that we grow in strength, become lighter-hearted and better-tempered. Truth is a very different thing from fact; it is the loving contact of the soul with spiritual fact, vital and potent. It does its work in the soul independently of all faculty or qualification there for setting it forth or defending it. Truth in the inward parts is a power, not an opinion."
Similarly, we come to understand some truths thusly:
"It is the nature of the thing, not the clearness of its outline, that determines its operation."
One of our duties is to testify of the truth we have received, in the hope that it will kindle within others the desire to also receive it through the Holy Spirit. When their thirst for the given truth becomes pure and bears the fruit of willingness to obey the truth, God's love swells their souls with sureness.
Jesus taught us that knowledge of truth comes through the doing of God's will, and that it is our duty to discover it. Likewise our duty includes following it henceforth.
Quoting George MacDonald: "All truth understood becomes duty. To him that obeys well, the truth comes easy; to him who does not obey, it comes not, or comes in forms of fear and dismay. The true, that is the obedient man, cannot help seeing the truth, for it is the very business of his being—the natural concern, the correlate of his soul."
May we all seek truth with honest intent to receive it, regardless of the challenges it may give to what we think we intellectually know. May God's love thereby swell in our hearts, that we may in turn share his love with the world!