The Balance of Spirit & Truth

Many years ago I heard a wise teacher say:  "All Truth and no Spirit . . . you dry up. And all Spirit and no Truth . . . you blow up. But in Spirit and Truth. . . you grow up."  

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well when she tried to debate with Him about the best place to worship, i.e., in Jerusalem, or on a certain mountain that the Samaritans held sacred, Jesus said to her "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:23).  "Truth" by itself is entirely objective. It can be cut and dried. The "truth" was that the Samaritans believed God could only be worshiped on that mountain, and the "truth" was that the Jews believed God could only be worshiped in Jerusalem. But Jesus told her that true worshipers will do so "in spirit and truth." 

Spirit -- Feeling, or sensing the "spirit" (of God) can be entirely subjective and in and of itself that can be a good thing and should be welcomed so long as the experience is not what you seek. I "feel" the presence of the Holy Spirit. I "feel" like singing praises to God. When I worship in the Spirit I "feel"  like I'm closer to God. But what happens when you don't "feel" saved, or you don't "feel" like praising God? The balance comes from the "truth" that you know He deserves to be worshiped and praised and you do it even when you don't want to because it is your nourishment -- it is your very food. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of he Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Truth -- By itself truth can be absolute -- it is subjective. "You're a sinner and if you don't repent you're going straight to hell." That statement is, indeed, true . . . but if it is not tempered with love it is like a blunt hammer.  After all, we're all "sinners," yet some have been saved by grace (a free gift of God to those who believe). 

Here is good example of all "spirit" and little or no "truth." While I was still in high school a friend took me to his church meeting and this was my first encounter with those who are commonly referred to as "holy rollers." Many of them were jerking and gyrating and they were all speaking in tongues at the same time, and several were actually rolling on the floor. To me these people were all out of their lunatic minds. However, at that time I was not a Christian and I had never heard of such goings on. They had "the spirit" but it had not been balanced with "the truth." This is not to denigrate these people because they seemed to have a zeal for the Lord. They had "the spirit" but it had not been balanced with "the truth."

So the question is: Do some believers speak in tongues? The answer is yes, as it is a heavenly language and a sign to the unbelievers (I Corinthians 14:22). Should all believers speak in tongues at a gathering all at the same time? The Apostle Paul said, "So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?" (I Corinthians 14:23). However, these things should be done "decently and in order." (I Corinthians 14:40). 

Are some believers so impacted by the presence of God that they fall down? The answer is yes. The Bible is full of examples of people falling down under the power of the Holy Spirit. When the soldiers that came to arrest Jesus asked him who He was He said, "I Am" and they fell down, impacted by the Spirit of the Lord. When Peter, James and John were taken up to a high mountain and saw Jesus transfigured right before their eyes, talking with Moses and Elijah, and his face was shining like the sun, they fell down to the ground (Matthew 17:6). It is when people take falling down under the power of God as a sign of their spirituality, or they fall down because everyone else is doing it, that's when it becomes error. We don't seek the "experience" but we seek Jesus.

Early in my walk with Jesus we witnessed to the hippies and dopers in Huntington Beach, California and we would hit them over the head with the gospel. That's the definition of an oxymoron if I ever heard one!! "If you don't get saved you're going straight to hell!"  The word gospel means "good news," and was never meant to be a blunt instrument to bludgeon someone into the kingdom of heaven. We had some successes but we would have had considerably more if the "truth" we shared with them was first tempered with "love."

Several years later when I took my team of ex-dopers and drug pushers to a rock festival near Tampa, FL our message had a distinctly different flavor; it was the gospel (good news) that Jesus loved them, and that He was there to give them LIFE, and we ended up having hundreds saved and baptized in the Hillsborough River. This was "spirit and truth" in balance. We also had actual miracles happen during our times there as well as the amazing fulfillment of a prophetic dream. 

When we learn to love, and our goal is to truly love as Jesus loved, then we earn the right to speak the truth. But without love "I have become like sounding brass and a clanging cymbal." (I Corinthians 1:1) 



If you would like to schedule Ken to speak to your church or organization he can be contacted at: Ken Simmons Ministries, Ontario, California,  or call at (909) 957-8882.