Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Deceiving Yourself

Snoopy always calls it like it is.

We smile at that comic strip because we all get the point Mr. Shultz is making. So funny!

But other lying? Not so funny.

Like when I lie to myself.  


The Bible warns that the potential to do just that is inside me.

Really? I mean, who gets up in the morning and thinks, "I'm going to deceive myself today! Yep, gonna tell myself a couple of big ones. That'll make everything go better!"

Who does that? 

No one.

The thought that I can deceive myself is seriously terrifying.

I was reading in James 1:19-27 and was struck as never before by those suicidal words which are written, not once, but twice in that group of verses.

James 1:19-27New International Version (NIV)

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Oh, how I do not want to do that. I don't want to listen and then forget. I don't want my religion to be worthless.

So, what to do? How can I keep from doing to myself such a dastardly deed as deceiving?

Thankfully, in this same group of verses, we are given help. Look at verse 25.

25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Two words in that verse hint that it holds a key to defeating self deception: 

Freedom and Blessed

Deception never involves freedom or blessing. Truth always does. 

What then are we to do to have freedom and blessing (and to battle the tendency to deceive ourselves)?

"Look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continue in it - not for getting what they have heard, but doing it..."

In other words: Read your Bible - carefully, seriously, consistently, persistently, intently. Then, do what it says.

It's that simple.

Well, it's simple to write. It might be slightly harder to do. 

But, if you are a Christian, you don't do this alone. You have the Holy Spirit to help. (John 14:26You have virtual encouragers, like me, writing stuff like this to say, "Keep going! Keep trusting! Stay in the Word!" You have real live encouragers around you in your local church and/or small group cheering you on to keep fighting the good fight of faith. 

Fight the fight against self deception by looking intently into God's word and asking Him to help you do what it says. 

The result is freedom and blessing.

The result is truth telling. Truth telling me, truth reminding me - equipping me - to tell myself the truth.

And that thought isn't terrifying. It's terrific.

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