The truth shall set you free.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)
To abide by the teaching of anyone is personal. This is not reading a book and not even taking a seminar. This is sitting in the presence of a teacher for a long period of time. The difference is the spirit. When you read a book, you can learn, but if you were to hear the author speak, you would also glean from his spirit, which is more than what a book can hold. So the first step of this is to remain in the presence of God as you are listening and obeying.
When we do this, we will know the truth. This is a bit strange because most things we already know. We know we shouldn’t lie. We know we shouldn’t eat too much. We know we shouldn’t scream at our children. But those things we know intellectually are not embedded into our spirit. But when we spend time in the presence of God, we are learning to esteem and love Him. This helps us to obey.
We may not obey a speed limit sign. But if our beloved grandmother is in the car and asks us to slow down, we will because we love her.
Until we spend time in the presence of God, obeying will be a chore. But as we fall in love with Him gleaning from His Spirit, obedience will be something we want to do just to honor Him.
Then the truth that we know intellectually will get inside of us and change how we feel about it. The word ‘know’ here is the same used in the Old Testament for sex. Adam ‘knew’ Eve and she conceived. As we obey in love, the Truth enters into our spirit intimately transforming our heart. Rather than obeying while fighting great temptation, obedience will be what we desire most.
Once this happens, we are set free from the sinful nature that seems to have control over us.