Wednesday, February 3, 2016

that which cannot be long hidden

In a world where power is valued more than integrity, truth has become elusive and rare. We see it in our politics, we see it in the corporate world, and we see it--quite sadly--in the home. Say whatever you wish to get your way. 

Truth isn't just about what we choose to say or not say: it's the core essence of how we live. What to I project to others? What do I believe about myself? What do I humbly accept and confess? Do I treat my children the same way as I treat my friends' children? Do my words honor my husband when he isn't around? Do my kids understand what it means to live without "faking it"? Do they see duplicity in me? 

Bedtime has become our confessional time for the oldest. It's never parent-prompted, but the guilt of acting one way and telling me another often erupts around 8:00 pm. She'll say my name cautiously, "Mom..." and then bite her lip as she pauses to collect the courage to proceed. 

She feels shame over her choices, but I tell her that the Lord is quick to forgive. That He always forgives when we ask Him and He remembers our guilt no more. I encourage her to never mask over her deception. 
"The truth will set you free. The truth is God's language. When we start speaking lies to each other, we're using the Enemy's words." 

I tell her that lying is usually worse than the initial sin--it never helps cleanse you of guilt. 

She lies to protect herself...or so she thinks. We do the same. 
We lie to protect our interests.
We lie to save ourselves from embarrassment.
We lie to keep friends--to keep the peace.

But "never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace" (J.C. Ryle). Ultimately, we'll lose both (peace and truth). For true soul peace is not acquired without absolute truth. 

Truth--the Truth, the Way, the Life-- (John 14:6) is the One who brings us into full security. He enables us to remove the mask we think protects us. And when we live fully in Him, we are fully ourselves. And then the sweet peace of His presence descends. 

"Who shall dwell on your Holy Hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart." Psalm 15:2

Truth must come outside of us: it must be established by One who is unchanging. Grace and truth rest wholly in Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 1:17) and apart from Him, there is no illumination. (Psalm 119:160, James 1:18, 2 Cor. 4:4). 

Staying truthful, walking with integrity, and living by absolutes isn't about pride or acquiring God's favor. It's about staying close to Him, hearing His heart. Our relationship with Him will be crippled (or non-existent) if we don't acknowledge where we are, what we truly believe/think, and what we are acting out on. 

Though the truth doesn't need us to defend it--in that it's weak or insufficient--but it does need believers to realize and honor its formidable importance. Without it we are easy targets for the Enemy. 
Without it we are blown by every whim of the emotions.  
Without it we are bait for false beliefs.

Without the truth we cannot honor the Lord.

Deception will come: the church will not be safe from its clutches. 

It is those who stay rooted in the Scriptures (convicted/humbled by the Spirit, reminded of the words of Jesus) that will be able to avert the dangers of deceit. 

I Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons."

"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears what to hear." 2 Timothy 4:3

"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm in the end will be saved." Matt. 24:10-13

2 Timothy 2:15, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." 

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