Truth, Mick Jagger, And Paint Brushes

A teacher I highly respect once told me to affirm truth wherever I find it. It's advice that has served me well for many years. Like putting on a pair of glasses that filters out certain rays while letting others through, this approach to the world turns every encounter into a possible learning experience. Unlike the bifocals of a sacred/secular dualism, these glasses turn all events in life into spiritual experiences.

   Jesus put truth in its purest, simplest form when He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6). This is very important because it identifies truth with the person of Christ. Jesus doesn't merely point the way to truth; He is truth. He embodies truth, and all truth finds its beginning and ending, its Alpha and Omega, in the person of Jesus Christ. To know Him is to know truth.

   Does that mean that the converse is also true: to know truth is to know Christ? I believe it does, although it is possible to encounter Him and not be aware of it.

   It's like this. We all have our jigsaw puzzle called Truth. It has million pieces and will never be completed in one lifetime.

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Volumes of books have been written and countless schools founded for the purposes of explaining the puzzle, teaching various theories of how to put it together, and speculating over what the puzzle will look like if it is ever completed.

   But an amazing thing happens when we accept Jesus Christ: we receive the box the puzzle came in. On the cover, as always, the completed puzzle is pictured, and it shows Jesus himself.

   Knowing Who the puzzle is, however, doesn't absolve the Christian of the task of putting it together — this is still our life experience — but it does mean that each new discovery, each new piece we fit, gives a more complete understanding and experience of Jesus Christ our Lord. To encounter truth is to encounter more of Christ.

   Unbelievers, too, can put pieces together; they just aren't sure what they are handling. It could be a section of hair, an edge of a fingernail, or the fringe of a garment. Someone might even come to the end of her life's work and be absolutely certain she has completed a nose, but whose nose? And how many other noses are there? And why is this nose so important?

   Recently, Mick Jagger came out with a solo hit called "Let's Work." It really surprised me. Musically it sounded more like Bruce Springsteen than the raunchy Rolling Stones, and its content was a positive, motivational message on the value of work and the danger of laziness. The message of the song was truthful, and not only that, it was relevant to my needs.

   I don't like work and will by nature avoid it if at all possible.

   I marvel at my wife. She always works and seems to thrive on it. The only thing she doesn't like is getting up in the morning, but once she's up, there's no stopping her. Even when she quits working it's still dripping off her, like a nuclear power plant in meltdown.

   I, on the other hand, have to drag myself into work. I have to work to work. Right now I am working very hard just to write this. Distracting me is easy and I can even think up creative distractions if I so desire.

   If I read my Old Testament, I find I am not alone. Work was Adam's curse, and because I bear his humanity and the seed of his sin, it is my curse as well. But because I also stand in Christ's salvation, I can find a redeeming of that curse in work — a fulfillment that even Adam may not have known.

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   Then along comes, of all people, the obnoxious, arrogant, pompous Mick Jagger encouraging me to redeem man's curse and warning me of what will happen if I don't. Hey, I don't know how he's done it — he may or may not know the picture on the cover of the box — but he has managed to put together a few pieces of the puzzle called Truth. He's joined the very pieces that I need to see right now, and I'll take it as truth.

   If I were looking at the world through dualistic bifocals, I would have considered the source and immediately dismissed the possibility of anything good coming out of Nazareth, or even this station on the radio, for that matter, because it only plays "secular" music. I would also have to limit my spiritual experiences to those that happen in church on Sunday, with Christian friends, or through "anointed" ministries. But I definitely would have missed the spiritual experience I had listening to Mick Jagger admonish me to redeem the curse, while precariously straddling the desk and chair, holding a full gallon of paint, and stretching to reach the top edge of the molding without getting any paint on the ceiling.

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