Scott Hanson has attended Redwood since 2003. He has had the privilege of being a part of the choir and helping with the worship team doing slides for Sunday mornings. Scott’s hobbies include listening to audio books, playing golf and writing software. He and his wife, Jenny, have been married for 13 years, and they enjoy photography and tending their garden together.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” — John 8:31–32
Whenever I see a conditional passage like this, I usually need to look at it backwards to fully understand it. At the end of the verse, Jesus promises truth and freedom. I ask myself, am I actually experiencing truth and freedom in my life as He promises? If not, then I need to look more closely at the command at the beginning of the verse and see where things are going awry. In later verses of chapter 8, Jesus explains that this freedom is freedom from sin. Am I experiencing this freedom from sin in my life? If not, then I remain captive to that sin, and I am missing the abundant life Jesus offers through truth and freedom.
In the conditional statement at the start of verse, Jesus says that I need to hold to His teachings. What teachings do I need to hold to, and how do I hold to them? This is where I personally need to wrestle. For me, ‘holding’ means that I know His teachings, act them out in obedience, and share them with others in my life. In doing these few things, I find that the Holy Spirit reveals truths about Himself and His relationship of love for the world. This is the first promise: to know the truth. These truths, as they continue to influence me, inevitably change my heart and mind. The more I can focus on knowing and following His truths, the more I am freed from my sin and experience the abundant life He offers.
To put this into practice in my life, let me list some of the truths that I have been learning lately from Jesus’ teachings and life. Worshipping Him for who He is; experiencing humility through confession; being encouraged by the power of prayer; challenging myself to love others in new and healthy ways; and feeling the joy and satisfaction of serving the world for Him.
What truths of Jesus’ teaching and life have you been learning about lately? How might this change your mind and heart to follow His example?