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What’s the difference between truth, untruth, and a lie? Here’s a quick breakdown. To make an accurate statement about something or someone is telling the truth. To unknowingly make an inaccurate statement about something or someone is sharing an untruth. To deliberately and/or deceptively make a false statement about something or someone is considered a lie.

It seems simple enough. However, those lines have become distorted with so much dishonesty in our society. This problem is compounded when people treat theories as truth, and human wisdom as infallible. History is replete with examples of widely accepted beliefs that were once considered true yet are now known to be false (i.e. the earth isn’t flat, the sun and stars don’t revolve around the earth, and celery is not a delicious vegetable!).

How do we determine truth? Majority opinion does not determine truth. The majority can be wrong. Personal convictions do not determine truth. Personal convictions are exactly that…personal. In other areas, the research of academia and the printed findings of science have been shown to be false on many occasions. Maybe another question might be, “Is truth that important?”

The short answer is…yes! Truth is important because there are consequences for being wrong. Giving someone the wrong amount of a medication can harm them. Making wrong financial decisions can impoverish a family. Boarding the wrong plane will take you where you don’t want to go. In I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Frank Turek states, “We demand the truth for almost every facet of life that affects our money, relationships, safety, or health…yet many of us say we aren’t interested in truth when it comes to morality or religion.” Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist, stated, “The fact is, the truth matters-especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie.”

Nowhere is truth more important than in the realm of faith. During the closing hours of His life, Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate. Jesus had been accused of sedition and treason against Rome. The crowds insisted that He be put to death. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). His question has reverberated throughout history. What is truth? Ironically, Pilate was looking directly at Truth personified, and he didn’t know it (John 14:6).

Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus also said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Put those two claims together. Jesus is truth and the Word of God is truth. Here’s why that’s relevant for truth seekers. For the person who has placed faith in Christ, he or she can measure the claims of the world against the claims of Scripture and character of Christ. We have a standard for determining truth, untruth, and lies.

Someone might wonder, “How can we trust that Jesus is truthful?” That’s a great question. Jesus’ claims were validated when He rose from the dead. According to Romans 1:4, Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…” The resurrection proved the divinity of Jesus. Jesus is God. Simply put, if you’re trying to decide who’s right or who’s wrong, listen to the one who got up from the dead.

How do we know if the Bible is true? For centuries, people have tried to discredit the Bible and claim that it’s filled with inaccuracies. There have been attempts to pit science against the Bible, reason against the Bible, and the fickle leanings of society against the Bible. With every attempt, the Bible has proven itself trustworthy and steady. There are many wonderful articles and books that describe these attacks and the reliability of Scripture. If you’re interested in specifics, do a computer search titled “Is the Bible reliable?”

How does any of this conversation affect you? Life forces each of us to decide what is true, untrue, or a lie. There are consequences for being wrong. No one wants to be lied to, and no one wants to foolishly follow a lie. God has made a way for people to know truth, follow truth, and even be in relationship with truth. It all starts with Jesus.

Jesus is truth embodied. For those who have placed faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, He promised that He would send “the Spirit of truth” to be with us and in us (John 14:16-17). Jesus went on to tell us that “the Spirit of truth…will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13). We can trust that as we read the Word of truth (the Bible), while being in relationship with the embodiment of truth (Jesus), that we are led into all truth by the Holy Spirit.

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). Satan tries to deceive us; Jesus came to redeem us and set us free. You can know the truth. It all starts by knowing Jesus.

Sometimes our instinct is to look within ourselves to get emotionally and spiritually healthy. We scrutinize our past, take personality tests, and spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and journaling about ourselves, as if self-awareness and self-expression had inherent healing powers. We often forget, or perhaps do not even realize, that “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). With that divine diagnosis in mind, we need to realize that focusing on ourselves will not result in good emotional or spiritual health.

At other times, we may look to science and psychology to heal us, as if losing our tempers or never feeling God’s peace was simply a matter of blood chemistry or internal wiring. We search in vain for that one technique that will teach us to cope. But the best the world has to offer will do us no good apart from God’s grace, wisdom, and power.

Still other times we simply give up and believe that we can never get better, that something has been irreparably broken inside. This is an evil lie that’s meant to destroy our faith and steal our joy. Nobody is too broken for God.

Emotional health and spiritual health are possible, but both realities come from God Himself, specifically through His Word (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit. The Bible has real answers for us, containing “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). It teaches us the Gospel, showing us how to be in right relationship with God, which is the only way we can have true spiritual health. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we get to know God better as we pray, read the Bible, and learn to love Him more through our obedient responses to the never-failing truth of His Word. As our love for God grows, the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus, who is perfect in spiritual and emotional health.

The Bible doesn’t simply give us information as other books do. Instead, it is literally “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and the power of God is in the Word of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible literally revives (Psalm 19:7) and saves our souls (James 1:21). It guards us from sin (Psalm 119:11). It pierces through to our secret thoughts and draws out what is hidden (Hebrews 4:12). It brings joy and delights the heart (Jeremiah 15:16). It accomplishes everything for which God appoints it (Isaiah 55:11).

When we doubt the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s power to bring us emotional and spiritual health, it may be because we don’t understand the problem. The issue isn’t that we’ve been dragged down by a hard life and personal difficulties that now need to be figured out and overcome one by one. In fact, focusing on our problems is a sure way to defeat!

The issue is how we stand before God. Do we stand before God reminding Him of all the things that have gone wrong and are still wrong, or do we let Him lead? Do we let God speak into our lives? Do we let go of our own perspective and embrace God’s perspective as revealed in the Bible?

In our brokenness, we keep turning back to what we need to be healed from, but God turns us to what He’s healing us for: freedom, clean hearts, renewed minds, and abundant life in Him. The emotionally and spiritually healthy person isn’t the person without problems but, instead, is the person who daily turns away from self and circumstances and faithfully focuses on God, even when it’s hard and seems impossible.

The Bible doesn’t describe challenges of life in terms of emotional and spiritual health but, instead, addresses challenges in the context of maturity. As maturing Christians, we’re growing in our emotional self-control, our sense of security, and our ability to reach out to others. Instead of looking primarily to our own interests, we focus on trusting God rather than our ability to cope with new challenges or any other things we associate with strong emotional and spiritual health.

Psalm 1:3 describes the mature person as being “like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Like a tree with extensive roots continually soaking in good water, the psalmist says that this person is nourished and satisfied, moving through the stages of life and growing spiritually as he ought to grow. He is resilient to the changing seasons and unexpected weather patterns of life. This person is the picture of emotional and spiritual health.

Psalm 1 contrasts the healthy tree–one that is firmly rooted–to chaff, which has no roots and is swept away by external forces. The healthy tree produces sweet fruit that gives energy and life to others. Chaff, on the other hand, produces only dry leftovers.

The difference between the two is that the first seeks God, specifically delighting in God’s Word as he meditates on it continually (Psalm 1:2). Like a tree made strong by adequate sunlight, the emotionally and spiritually healthy person lives in the light of God Himself. He may be weak with few resources of his own, but because God is his refuge, he meets life with eagerness, stamina, and skill.

If you have placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, you have already been transformed into a new creation with a new identity. If you once were the person who was lost, weighed down by life, and fearful, you are no longer that person. As you learn to walk like the new person you are, there may be things outside of the Bible that seem good and helpful, but you will realize that only the God who knows it all and can do it all can guide you into strong emotional and spiritual health. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

Additional Resources

John 6:63
Romans 15:4
1 Corinthians 1:18
Philippians 2:13
WordTruth Article: Divine Sufficiency or Divine Deficiency
Holy Spirit (one-page PDF)

Sometimes seeking forgiveness seems risky or even hopeless. Too often, people say they forgive you but continue to hold grudges. When that happens, resentment creeps in, and they may start questioning your motives and character. Their affection for you shrivels up, and they keep you at a distance. They find subtle ways to make you pay for what you’ve done. Then when you think you’ve moved forward, they take your mistakes and throw them in your face.

This is the type of baggage we bring into our relationship with God. But God doesn’t forgive half-heartedly or hold a grudge. He doesn’t enjoy stringing you along. He doesn’t need time or space to work through His hurt. He doesn’t withhold blessings out of spite. His love and affection for you don’t change because of your mistakes.

Whatever you have done, God is eager to forgive you. His forgiveness is a complete pardon of your guilt. Guilty is your legal status before God without His forgiveness. We are all guilty of breaking God’s holy standards. We owe restitution for the things we’ve done wrong, and we deserve punishment. But Jesus Christ with His death on the cross pays our debt and takes our punishment on Himself. Unlike human forgiveness, God’s forgiveness means that an actual legal settling of your account has taken place.

God’s forgiveness erases our guilt before Him. It’s over. We are like new snow, fresh and unblemished. Our record of wrongs has been blotted out. We are freed from sin’s power over us. God has cast our sins behind His back and into the sea to be thought of no more. And He will never change His mind—no fishing in the past. At every point, His forgiveness is complete and perfect.

Maybe you can’t believe God wants to forgive you in this way. You may think you’ve rejected Him too many times or fallen into a pattern of sin you just can’t seem to escape. You worry you’ll never measure up, and God will never be pleased with you.

If your sin seems bigger than God’s forgiveness, pray and ask God to help you see Him for who He really is.

Never once does the Bible tell us God won’t forgive us because we aren’t good enough. It tells us the opposite, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Every person has rejected God’s ways. Our very best efforts are tainted with self-love and willfulness. It’s this rejection of God, rather than kind or degree, that defines sin. Because all sin is a rejection of God, particular sins aren’t harder for God to forgive, and no sin disqualifies someone as a candidate for forgiveness.

We see God’s willingness to forgive all sin at the crucifixion itself. Jesus has been stripped, tortured, beaten, and nailed to a cross for all to see. Just the night before, beads of sweat and blood dripped from His forehead at the thought of what was to come. And yet Jesus forgave the very murderers responsible for putting him there. When God tells us to forgive others, He points to this radical forgiveness as our model and calls us to forgive “as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

God wants to forgive us, but within that feeling of not being good enough to be forgiven is a kernel of truth. It’s that sense of shame and remorse we have for our sins. The world tells us guilt is bad, but guilt is actually a gift. Like pain, it alerts us that something is wrong: Your hand is in the fire—move it. Guilt tells us we crossed the line and need to re-chart our course. It signals our need for God. Without it, consciences become hardened as people move farther from Him. But guilt is only where we’re meant to start, not where we’re meant to stay.

Guilt is meant to push us into God’s open, waiting arms. It’s as though you call to apologize, but the person you’ve hurt shows up on your doorstep while the phone is ringing with a picnic lunch to share. You’ve dialed the number thinking you’re making the first move, but the other person is already moving toward you in reconciliation. God is already moving toward you in reconciliation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

When we don’t believe God wants to forgive us, our sins become liabilities that we can never make right…so we hide them or deny them. Concealing our sins is the worst possible response. But to those who admit their sins and their need for Him, God promises mercy. When we confess, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Asking for forgiveness is an act of faithful obedience. It requires faith because it can be hard to believe we’re forgiven and that God truly loves us. But trusting God means believing His promises more than our feelings. When we doubt, we must hold fast to His Word and ask for His help to make it real to us. We may pray that a hundred times a day for weeks before His forgiveness starts to feel real. On the other hand, it may feel real right away. Regardless, we know the reality. If He says it is finished, it is finished.

Additional Resources

Psalm 103:10–14
Isaiah 43:25
1 John 1:8–9
Gospel (one-page PDF)

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What is the essence of the Gospel message?

From the book of Genesis through the book of Revelation, the Bible shares a relational message. This message is called the Gospel (or Good News). The Good News of Jesus Christ is expressed in 6 basic statements.

  1. Humanity was created for relationship with God (Genesis 2–3; Leviticus 26:12).
  2. Our sin separated us from that relationship (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23).
  3. There is nothing that we can do to reconcile this relationship on our own (Ephesians 2:1–9).
  4. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8–10; Ephesians 2:13–16; 1 John 4:9–10).
  5. Jesus rose from the dead that we might have life (1 Peter 1:3).
  6. Jesus offers eternal life (or a reconciled relationship) to those who will repent of their sin by placing faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; John 17:3; Acts 2:38).

How can you receive eternal life?

John 3:36 tells us that “He who believes in the Son has eternal life.” A person receives eternal life by placing faith in what Jesus has done for them. What did Jesus do for them? He died on the cross for their sins, He rose from the dead that they might have life, and He offers eternal life to anyone who will repent of their sin by placing faith in Christ.

Following Christ is a journey that never ends, but it can begin with a simple prayer. Use this prayer to guide you. “God, I know that I’ve sinned. I recognize that my sin has separated me from you. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, and He rose again on the third day. As best I know how, I turn from my sin by placing faith in what Jesus has done for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you have placed faith in Christ today, we encourage you to share this decision with others. For more resources on this new relationship with God, go to

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When someone hurts or disappoints us over and over, it’s natural to distance ourselves. But sometimes the pain is so deep that it feels impossible to trust anyone again. Situations involving betrayal, abuse, or even death can make us want to retreat from everyone rather than risk more pain by trusting again.

When we lose trust in people, we get skittish in our relationships, fearing that the bottom could fall out at any moment. The thought of being disappointed or taken advantage of again scares us. Feeling unprotected, vulnerable, and not in control, we’re alert to danger and always ready to strike back or run.

In one sense, trusting people is a choice to think the best of them. It is an aspect of love that, as the Bible puts it, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). That means not second-guessing people’s motives or expecting them to hurt us. We choose to trust in this way by closely guarding our thoughts about others and thinking only things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). It also means forgiving others when they do hurt us, overlooking offenses when possible, and not keeping detailed accounts of the ways we’ve been mistreated.

In another sense, trust is feeling safe around others. Feeling safe gives us a sense of freedom in our relationships in order to love without holding back. Like the poet who laid down and slept peacefully knowing the Lord was watching over him, people who feel safe in relationships are relaxed, confident, and willing to make themselves vulnerable. They can do this because the idea of others failing them in some way just isn’t on their radar.

Sometimes we want others to prove themselves so that we can trust again, and trust can often be built (or rebuilt) between two people through good communication and by consistently meeting appropriate expectations. But the truth is this…as long as we look to people to give us confidence and security we’ll never be free from distrust. Our confidence must be in God Himself. Rather than figuring out how to trust people, we must learn to trust God.

“It is better,” writes the psalmist, “to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8). This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to have healthy relationships, but it does mean that God is our ultimate source of love, security, and hope for the future.

God is our ultimate source of love, security, and hope for the future.

Even with good intentions, people change, have bad days, and can be careless or hurtful. If we’re trusting in them instead of God, any disappointment makes our world fall apart. But God is infinitely trustworthy. He never changes, never has bad days, and is never caught off guard by the trials of life. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He keeps His promises. His love fills up all the cracks in our hearts, healing our deep scars. When our trust is in God, we have a secure foundation for life. Even when things are hard, there is hope and healing. He gives us sure footing in treacherous places.

When we feel unsafe, He is our protector. When we can’t discern if someone intends good or evil toward us, God gives us wisdom. When we’re lonely, God is the perfect friend who will never leave us nor forsake us. When we trust in God, we turn to Him when we’re disappointed…and we’re comforted. Our relationships actually grow stronger as we look to God, instead of people, to meet our needs. God is so completely satisfying that we’re free to love others without always needing something from them.

Trusting God means that when we want to withdraw from others, we hold on to God’s promises and keep putting ourselves out there. Fear gets us thinking only of ourselves and our own protection, but God wants us to be a blessing to others, to love and encourage them and to meet their needs if we can. Instead of withdrawing, we obediently follow Christ in loving others intensely, even unconditionally to the point of giving up our lives for our friends—“greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

We can feel safe in our relationships and can choose to love well, which happens only when we focus on God and His help. We build our trust in God by spending time with Him. Studying the Bible shows us that He is trustworthy. Praying to Him—telling Him our fears and asking for His help, just as we would to an earthly father—invites His work in our hearts and lives. Obeying God gives us a chance to see Him come through again and again, and our trust grows. As we ask God to open our eyes, He will show us how He has proven Himself trustworthy.

Additional Resources

Proverbs 3:5–6
Psalm 28:7
Hope (one-page PDF)

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