The Renunciation (The Way of Lying part 4)

"Old things have passed away..." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is a very poignant and important topic with me. As human beings are multi-dimensional in complexity, the capacity for lies and deceit is boundless.

But Paul says that we can renounce those things: "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty" (2 Corinthians 4:1-2, emphasis mine).

If you've read the first parts of this series, you know that I had great difficulty in being honest as a child and young man. It was the "sin that so easily beset [me]" (Hebrews 12:1), as it were. And even after I became aware (and convicted) that I wasn't fooling God in the way I carried myself and interacted with others, it still took many years before I came around to feeling like an honest person—in spite of the fact that the mere content of what I might say was accurate.

Honesty is indeed the best policy. But what's cause for concern and even consternation (!) is the realization that, unless someone knows Jesus—who is the Truth (John 14:6)—they're not going to know true honesty from the very depth of their being. And if this is alarming and unsettling, it's supposed to be.

Going back to what Paul was saying about "the hidden things of dishonesty", what might some of these hidden things be? How about motive? Making sure our motive is pure. What is your motive for revealing the things to others you choose to reveal? And your motive for keeping things hidden? Granted, no one likes too much information. And even though James says to "confess your faults one to another" (James 5:16), it should be understood that you've already dealt with your sin before the Lord (against whom all sin and wrongdoing is done in the first place) and you're not just unloading your dirty laundry on an unsuspecting victim. Turn it around and look at it this way: I'm hesitant to "confess my faults" when I don't sense any heart resonance with those that might look like they'd be in a position to hear. In other words, they don't see Jesus fully as they should and as such would not be able to provide wisdom and solace. Here's a good verse for reflection and direction. Pray this to God: "Lead me in Thy truth and teach me" (Psalm 25:5). Much like Psalm 119:29, this verse was integral to my coming out of the lying patterns I'd established for myself growing up. And my motive to change was knowing that there was a source of truth I'd been blind to for most of my life (God has to reveal this to you, you understand. It's part of Him.). It didn't matter to whom I confessed about my lying habit, I still felt my motive was wrong and that my heart was too. It's something Jesus had to heal. Psalm 58:3 speaks of those who "go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." This is how I felt.

"He (and she) shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him." (Psalm 61:7)

Look again at Paul's passage: " we have received mercy...". The only way we can appropriate the honesty of God is to realize the mercy He has for us. "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil" (Psalm 16:6, emphasis mine) God's mercy is extravagant. It's "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23). This fact is the basis for change. So if you have an issue with honesty, God extends to you his mercy to overcome anything that would keep you from being honest. With Him, with yourself, and with others.

I suppose another thing that led me to desire to change—and to eventually change—is the realization that God saw all my innermost thoughts. As crafty and perceptive as I'd become, I knew I was nothing before God. God saw me coming a million miles away. And if God saw me, the devil knew what I was doing too. Don't ask me how I knew this, I just did. But that didn't so much concern me as the fact that I also knew there were other people out in the world who were more adept than I at playing these head games. Those who had no desire to change whatsoever and who were sailing through this life unchecked. I was effectively checkmated. But this, too, was God's mercy.

There is consolation in this verse: Job says "With Him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are His." (Job 12:16, emphasis mine) In other words, everyone who hasn't renounced—or refuses to—the hidden things of dishonesty, are checkmated already. God sees all and knows all. And loves all.

But not the devil. "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44, emphasis mine)

"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them his covenant." (Psalm 25:14)

The Verb: To Believe

Paradigms and/or Paradoxes