“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22 (NASB)
“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” Jim prayed fervently. Without stopping to listen to God, he thought about how he wasn’t feeling well enough to go to work. It had happened before and he had pushed through. Pushing the limits was something he did frequently, with seeming success. Later that day, while he thought no one would notice, he was caught by the boss taking a midday snooze. One week’s suspension without pay later, Jim realized he had made a terrible mistake of pretending he was well.
Everyone, at one time or another, has exaggerated, denied, or deceived someone else. Each time this happens there is a negative consequence. In the moment, it seems like it’s a good idea; in Jim’s case, he was trying hard to make his much-needed income.
God wants all of us to walk in truth. When we do this, we are His delight.
He also says that anyone who asks for wisdom will receive it (James 1:5). This is the first step when you are tempted to lie. Take a moment to stop and listen for God’s reply. Next, pray for God to show you a way out of the tempting situation (1 Corinthians 10:13) even if it’s only a “white lie.” Remember, all lies are an abomination to the Lord and He won’t bless any of them. The last step is trusting God with the outcome. The next time you are tempted to lie, even if it seems like it’s for good reason, ask God for wisdom and for Him to provide another way. Trust Him even if He calls you to a very different day or season than you had planned. Just like David, Job, and Peter, God will restore you to a life victorious when you do return to His straight and narrow path leading to steps of truth and freedom.
Dear Lord, please help me to find truth and healing as the best options each and every time I have opportunity to speak or act. I know those are the ways to Your perfect light, and yet I confess sometimes I have chosen the darker path. Help me to remember that sin of any kind leads to death, but truth leads to restoration and light. Amen.
Next time you are tempted to lie, stop and listen to God about what to do. Ask Him for both wisdom and for Him to remove temptation, both promises He will follow through on. Finally, trust God with whatever He leads you to do, even if it’s counter intuitive to what your sin nature tells you to do. God’s way of truth is a delight and He will bless your obedience richly.
When you believe in Christ, Christ works a miracle in you. You are permanently purified and empowered by God himself. The message of Jesus to the religious person is simple: It’s not what you do. It’s what I do. I have moved in. And in time you can say with Paul, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
If I’m born again, why do I fall so often?
Why did you fall so often after your first birth? Did you exit the womb wearing cross-trainers? Did you do the two-step on the day of your delivery? Of course not. And when you started to walk, you fell more than you stood. Should we expect anything different from our spiritual walk?
But I fall so often, I question my salvation. Again, we return to your first birth. Didn’t you stumble as you were learning to walk? And when you stumbled, did you question the validity of your physical birth? Did you, as a one-year-old fresh flopped on the floor, shake your head and think, I have fallen again. I must not be human?
Of course not. The stumbles of a toddler do not invalidate the act of birth. And the stumbles of a Christian do not annul his spiritual birth.
Do you understand what God has done? He has deposited a Christ seed in you. As it grows, you will change. It’s not that sin has no more presence in your life, but rather that sin has no more power over your life. Temptation will pester you, but temptation will not master you. What hope this brings!
Hear this. It’s not up to you! Within you abides a budding power. Trust him!
Think of it this way. Suppose you, for most of your life, have had a heart condition. Your frail pumper restricts your activities. Each morning at work when the healthy employees take the stairs, you wait for the elevator.
But then comes the transplant. A healthy heart is placed within you. After recovery, you return to work and encounter the flight of stairs—the same flight of stairs you earlier avoided. By habit, you start for the elevator. But then you remember. You aren’t the same person. You have a new heart. Within you dwells a new power.
Do you live like the old person or the new? Do you count yourself as having a new heart or old? You have a choice to make.
You might say, “I can’t climb stairs; I’m too weak.” Does your choice negate the presence of a new heart? Dismiss the work of the surgeon? No. Choosing the elevator would suggest only one fact—you haven’t learned to trust your new power.
It takes time. But at some point you’ve got to try those stairs. You’ve got to test the new ticker. You’ve got to experiment with the new you. For if you don’t, you will run out of steam.
Religious rule keeping can sap your strength. It’s endless. There is always another class to attend, Sabbath to obey, Ramadan to observe. No prison is as endless as the prison of perfection. Her inmates find work but never find peace. How could they? They never know when they are finished.
Christ, however, gifts you with a finished work. He fulfilled the law for you. Bid farewell to the burden of religion. Gone is the fear that having done everything, you might not have done enough. You climb the stairs, not by your strength, but his. God pledges to help those who stop trying to help themselves.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6.)