Jane M. Phinney | August 5, 2019
Our lives are filled with reminders that warn us, slow us down, or turn us around altogether. Regulatory signs, potential hazards, roadblocks, deadbolts, child-safety devices, police tape, & even color-coding. The list is endless. The intention behind these visual helps is our safety & protection. We would be wise to heed them. Our faithful Father posts His own version of “STOP” signs in His word. In His love, He also desires to protect us because He wants His best for our lives. He gives us plenty of advance notice as to what might lie ahead on the road we’re traveling. Oftentimes, our flesh prefers to interpret Biblical stop signs in a way that makes us feel better. We fancy ourselves the exception to God’s guidelines. **From the onset, I would challenge you to apply this blog to your own life, & deny the natural inclination to think about other people.**
Throughout the entirety of the Bible, God’s hallmark is holiness & righteousness. It is the very essence of His character. He doesn’t change (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). He’s reliable, staying the same--- past/present/future/ (Hebrews 13:8). He remains faithful to His children (those indwelt by Christ) because to do otherwise would be to deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). His unchanging purpose is guaranteed & the resulting hope is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6: 17-19). He cannot lie, period. It’s not even a remote possibility! Because of WHO He is. Throughout the Old & New Testaments, God never compromised His character to accomplish fulfillment of His plans. HE IS WORTHY TO BE TRUSTED. The bottom line of faith is, you either believe He is who He says He is, or you don’t. And what you believe about His character, largely determines the course of decisions you make.
To get to the heart of the matter, there are some checkpoints to consider on our journey to heaven. After reading through Revelation a couple times this year, one “stop” sign is very burdensome to me. I’m referencing the habit of deception in the lives of folks who profess the Lord Jesus Christ. Deception is as old as the Garden of Eden. It’s Satan’s specialty as the Father of lies (John 8:44). He worked it on Eve & he’s still in business, trying his best to dishonor the Name that stands above every other. By contrast, Jesus is the only way, TRUTH, & life. He must be worshiped in spirit & in truth (John 14:6; 4:24). There’s no 3rd option to telling the truth or telling lies. One serves God. One serves Satan. That’s a tough thing to grapple with for “maybe” people. It’s through the maybes that various forms of deception are birthed (Matthew 5:37).
There’s a plethora of verses about deception (55) & lying (75) throughout the God’s Word. But nothing has sobered me more, in relationship to this topic, than 3 specific verses in Revelation. Chapter 21:8 says that “…all liars will be in the lake that burns with fire & brimstone, the second death.” In reference to the New Jerusalem, the description ends with a heavy-hitter in verse 27 “…& nothing unclean & no one who practices abomination & lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” To top it all off, Revelation 22:15 clearly states that “everyone who loves & practices lying” is outside the City. I’m no theologian but isn’t the implication here that people who live a lying lifestyle, who know what they’re doing, aren’t saved? Since lying is glossed over so easily as a bad habit these days, this is very disturbing! I’ve always been plagued by 2 thoughts. First, the Holy Spirit cannot co-exist with the Deceiver. So how could an indwelt believer even consider a lying lifestyle? Secondly, many people who employ the habit of lying, are counting on grace so their sin can abound. That mindset is assuming, scary, & wrong. Our flesh will always try & squirm out of conviction. But to me, the distinguishing mark in these verses is the “practicing” mentality. Practicing is intentional. You practice specifically to get better at something. You are deliberate in your actions when you practice. It’s the loving of, & practicing of, lying that stands in direct opposition to God’s character. How can people who live lying, worship Him (freely) in spirit & truth? They can’t.
Years ago, I read & saved an article from Revive Our Hearts that addressed different ways of deceiving. For our purposes, let’s look at this as…how it’s practiced. 10 examples were listed: 1) Exaggeration- using “always” & “never,” making sweeping generalizations or embellishing details. 2) Flattery- saying things to others that you wouldn’t say behind their backs. (Slander is saying things you wouldn’t say to their face.) 3) Lying- spreading false reports with intent to hurt, answering direct questions with untruths, falsifying information for personal benefits. 4) Misleading- leaving a false impression, giving selective facts for personal benefit, giving misleading references in job applications. 5) Inaccuracy-repeating stories before verifying facts, careless in factual details, failing to make sure words are literally true. 6) Deception- creating a better impression of myself than is true, implying my consent by silence when untrue facts are stated, giving the impression I’m more spiritually mature than is true, allowing people to believe I am morally pure & faithful when I have failed, covering up sins of the past. 7) Hypocrisy- speaking kindly while harboring bitterness/hatred in my heart, praising someone face-to-face while criticizing behind their back. 8) Inconsistency- flip-flopping views depending on the audience, saying what I know the person wants to hear vs what I really believe, putting a different spin on the topic depending who I talk to. 9) Guile- hidden agendas or ulterior motives when dealing with people, looking for loopholes in a contract rather than honoring the intent. 10) Broken promises- say I’ll pray & then neglect to do it, failing to honor time commitments or meeting needs I agreed to, failure to meet a financial obligation.
This was a very difficult blog for me to write. Honestly, the Biblical conclusion, “KEEP OUT!” (of heaven)—was incredibly painful to contemplate. I know people who lie, on purpose, & don’t think twice about it unless they’re caught. But the truth of the matter is, God always sees. I’ve asked Him to show me unrealized ways that I might be entertaining deception. If you were convicted by these scriptures, I would encourage you to make it right with the Lord first, & then with anyone else that you might have hurt. God reminded me that lying to people is betrayal. BUT, for a believer to practice lying is spiritual adultery, committed against Jesus Christ. He IS Truth. He is Hope. He is our Redemption.
My pain revealed
Your promise broken
You lied to me
My heart is broken
I trusted you
I gave you my heart
Now shattered dreams
Find us worlds apart
My life flow trickles
My soul is crying
I carry the scars
Of relationship dying
A chasm grows between us
My exceeding pain I bear
Am I just a fool,
To hope you really care?
“Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”