The devil is described in the Bible as the father of lies.
Sometimes his lies come to us from other people. They distort the true, and it hurts us. They might have meant it for good, but when the truth comes out, there is still hurt.
The deadliest lies are the ones we tell ourselves – those conversations that take place inside the walls of our mind that no one else hears. They twist the truth in ways that are convenient and yet they are misleading. Here are three of the biggest lies I fight against regularly, and perhaps you do too.
1. “My intentions are all that matter.” Inside my head, I am a great person. I would serve more sacrificially if I had more time. I would give away a lot of money once I have some. I want to make peace with my enemies. There is no limit to the good I would do, the next time I am given a chance. This lie separates my thoughts from my actions. If I thought about doing something in the name of Jesus, then score a point for me, when the harsh reality is that I haven’t done anything good for anyone outside of my brain.
2. “I am deeply committed to Jesus.” In my heart, I think about Jesus more than people know. I don’t mind Christian music, I have a few Christian friends, and I even do religious some stuff when it is convenient. Recently I was talking to a lady, and she spoke about our Church like she was a committed member, but the truth was that she had been here twice in the last two years. My immediate thought was a little judgmental of her as I said to myself, “she is only fooling herself.” Then I flipped my thinking over and wondered where I am doing the same. The problem with a faith that is connected to the heart is that we can lie to ourselves and separate it from our actions.
3. “It was just that one time (I am sure I will do better next time).” Sin frequently grabs us and pulls into a miry pit of shame. We feel remorse and regret and those feelings of guilt that accompany all failure. This is where I tend to tell myself, “It was just that one time.” Then I go on living exactly as I did before. This lie keeps me from making the changes necessary to move forward in a new way. What usually happens is that I repeat the cycle and end up doing the same stupid thing over and over. It is hard to admit that I might have a character flaw that needs to be changed.
Being honest with yourself is difficult. It requires not only self-reflection but also people who are willing to be brutally honest with you. Those are both hard to do and hard to find.
The devil does not need to bring someone in from the outside to lie to you and destroy your life. His greatest tool often resides between our own ears. Moving forward with Jesus will require us to stop lying to ourselves no matter how hard the truth is to hear.