“Live your truth.” It’s a banner that seems to be flying everywhere. The big idea is that we should do what feels right to us. No one knows us like we do, and no one has the right to tell us what is true for our individual lives, right? It’s a move away from the idea that truth is black and white and toward seeing truth as a million shades of gray.
Can I be honest? It’s a concept that makes my fists clench and my stomach tie up in knots. I know the notion that we each have the freedom to determine what is true and right for us sounds as warm and cozy as a fuzzy blanket on a cold day and as liberating as a flag flying on the Fourth of July, but I also know it’s total hogwash, ultimately unable to give us the comfort and liberty we crave so desperately. I long to see you turn and run from the idea of living “your truth.” Here are five reasons why.
1. You’re a liar.
I’m sorry to be so blunt, but desperate beliefs call for desperate measures. When it comes to speaking truth, you simply cannot be trusted. Neither can I. Here’s why:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9).
Because our hearts are warped by sin, they cannot be trusted. They have a long track record of lying to us about what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is false.
Because our hearts are warped by sin, they cannot be trusted.
I’m sure you can think of at least one example of a time when you craved something (or someone) with all your heart. You thought you might spontaneously combust if you didn’t get it, but looking back you can see the desire was all wrong—that if God had granted you what your heart craved, the end result would have been disastrous.
While there are times when our hearts line up perfectly with the heart of God, that’s not always the case. If you are free to define “your truth” with whatever your heart tells you in the moment, there’s a good chance you’ll end up in the ditch.
2. You’re flying blind.
Proverbs 14:12 gives us this warning: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
The image is this: We start walking down a path, and it it seems like we’re heading the right way. All of the “signs” seem to confirm this is the right thing for us, but ultimately it’s a path that leads to nowhere; even worse, it’s a path that leads to our destruction. “Your truth” can’t take you to the life you were made for. That’s the bad news. But God’s truth can. That’s really good news!
3. We’re all apple nibblers.
The shift from God’s truth to our truth is as subtle as it is dangerous. We see this played out in the story of Eve.
God spoke the truth in Genesis 2:16–17 when He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Yet Eve chose to live “her truth.” It went like this:
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’” (3:2–3).
God’s truth: Don’t eat it.
Eve’s truth: Don’t touch it.
It seems like splitting hairs, doesn’t it? Yet the root of the shift was that Eve cared more about her own thoughts and feelings and understanding of the situation than God’s. From there we can assume her truth became that she could disobey God without consequence or that a good God wouldn’t deny her anything she craved. Nibble. Crunch. Fall.
As daughters of Eve, we remain nibblers on the rotten idea that we can override or rewrite God’s truth.
As daughters of Eve, we remain nibblers on the rotten idea that we can override or rewrite God’s truth. Though the consequences are not as devastating for us as they were for Eve (the fall of all mankind), we still wreak havoc on our lives when we listen to “our truth” instead of God’s truth.
4. We’ve got some growing up to do.
Seventh-grade me thought I was destined to be rich and famous, that constant attention from a boy was the only way to feel good about myself, and that I had no real beauty to offer the world because I didn’t look like a supermodel.
It all seems laughable in hindsight, but those were “my truths.” They were the things I thought and felt most deeply. What if I had let those ideas define the trajectory of my life? Shudder!
When we decide to identify God’s Word as the source of truth, it’s like planting roots in one spot. We grow up from there. Instead of constantly shifting our understanding of what is true, we gain wisdom inch by inch.
I love this warning and prayer found in 2 Peter 3:17–18. I’m praying it for you as you resist the idea of following “your truth.”
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
5. There’s only one source of truth.
Let there be no confusion: There is no your truth or my truth. There’s just the truth, and it has a single source.
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
The Bible tells us that the truth is knowable (John 8:32). You don’t have to guess about what is true about the world around you or go with what your feelings tell you on any given day.
There is no your truth or my truth. There’s just the truth, and it has a single source.
I love how Jen Wilkin put it: “May God deliver me daily from the soul-eating curse of ‘living my truth.’” He is able to do it by the voice of His Spirit and through the power of His Word.
So whadya say? Let’s send the pendulum back swinging in the opposite direction, away from the idea that we can choose our own truth. We find our feet steadied and our hearts healed by this idea instead.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).