Forward by Megan Jessop
Truth is not simply the knowledge of facts or information, truth is an understanding of that information deep into the core of who we are as believers. Jordan's journey was one where he, like many of us, pursued truth in scripture and theological studies, and the like. However, he eventually came to the realization that when it comes to faith in God, a person cannot lean on their own understanding of God, but must experience Him as a person, and as the truth written in scripture. It must go beyond what our minds can regurgitate and sink deeper into our hearts as well, until it is something we are living out as second nature.
“Believe.” Confess. Live. Breathe In.
“Believe.” Confess. Live. Breathe Out.
For much of my life, I lived this.
I simply accepted, I did not become.
For any theologian, or any budding one like me, acceptance of truth is just as bad as a lie. And I lived out that lie to the fullest. I only experienced one problem - I didn’t know I was lying.
I grew up in church. Not only did I grow up in church, but I was also the son of a youth pastor/ worship pastor/associate pastor. My father was a jack-of-all-trades in ministry and in life. He could build a dresser, weld a trailer, rebuild most of a car’s engine, and he led worship and youth on Sundays. He did it all.
I grew up being taught the truth of Scripture, but nary did I allow it to penetrate my heart, win my affections, or infect me with obedience to my Savior. As wayward sons go, I was one of them.
I was a leader in the “youth group,” with ever so an inquisitive mind. If anyone had a question about knowledge, I was their guy, but I refused to let it sink into my heart and capture my attention. I didn’t know yet that I was refusing.
At a point one would think I would recognize what was off - that the reason I was caught in sin was not my ability, or inability, to obey God, but my attitude toward His truth, and therefore, Him. Nothing seemed off with how I viewed God, I simply continually found myself in a pattern of willful sin. “Take it away, God!” I would scream, literally or silently, yet never letting anyone in on my struggles.
In matters of purity I would struggle, and would continue to, but never did I realize it was my knowledge of God that brought me down.
After being burned by the church of my childhood, leaving scars for years, we left as a family to wander without anchor or home. I personally floated from church to church, struggling to find identity and truth I unknowingly, desperately sought. Finally I found a home at a Southern Baptist Church in Oklahoma.
I found a truth-loving, God-beholding, people-caring church that helped me through the struggles of previously being burned by church. Mainly due to the fact that they were a year old, having been burned themselves. It was during this time I grew into my faith and relationship with God, was called to ministry, fell in love, and was betrayed by that love multiple times, and ultimately found what I needed - truth.
After leaving that church, now two years removed, I realize what my story missed, and why I struggled with who I was. I lacked not in knowledge of God, but in perspective and reverence. Most of my life, I did not live for my Creator because I did not maintain a proper perspective of Him - that He is God and I am not. After many years of knowing truth but lacking a concrete belief and love of the truth, I finally achieved the latter.
It only took twenty years, but I finally saw the love and beauty in the Scriptures - it finally made sense how the truth would set you free. Knowing the truth is not enough, the truth must be allowed to delve into one’s heart, take residence, and change one into a person who can honor God. However, it is only the truth of the “God - breathed” Scriptures that can do that. It is in that proper reverence and beholding of the Scriptures that we might find freedom in the truth.
So, if this was a letter to a younger me, I would say to behold the truth and majesty of the wonderful words of God, and to waste not time on anything else.
For God alone is worth it.