Isaiah 59:2 “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.”
Recently I have spent weeks weeding our many flower beds and paths that once were nothing but simple pea gravel. However, over the past three years, all was overtaken, and what once was beautiful landscaping now was unruly and ugly. Why did these years pass with no attention to our grounds? I simply didn’t have the energy to deal with them until this summer. Lack of energy—the willingness to examine ourselves—these should never be the case as we look to see if any weeds may be taking root in our lives!
I call the weeds I was digging out of the ground “devil weeds.” I’m no expert on belligerence, but these weeds had roots that ran deep and on and on underground, entangling themselves around each other and any other thing they could, such as plant and tree roots. These weeds so reminded me of sin—sin that cuts us off from God when not confessed. I began to think of sin’s entanglements, which led me to the sin of lying.
One of my former pastors once said, “Raise your hand if you’ve never told a lie.” He then continued, “Well, if you raised your hand, recognize that today you lied!” We all laughed, for everyone at some time in their life tells a lie. Why is that? Is it a self-defense mechanism arising when we are fearful and desire to protect ourselves? Do we lie to make ourselves appear more important than we believe we are? Perhaps a lie is told to gain the approval of others or have them pleased with what we say. No matter the reason, God tells us in Proverbs that lying lips are an abomination—they are hated by God! “ The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth.” Proverbs 12:22
Now we all know that if we confess a lie to God, He will forgive: “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 We are then cleansed by the blood of Christ, made pure, and we are ready to begin anew asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and correction when needed. So the problem for us is not in telling a single lie, then confessed, but with living life based upon lying. God’s Word tells us, “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 “A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.” Proverbs 19:9 WOW! A life based upon lying is so serious that God lists it as one of the sins that closes heaven’s gates, preventing entrance. “There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” Proverbs 6:16-19
Sir Walter Scott, in his poem, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field1, wrote, ”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” You may have found this certain in your own life when a lie soon compounds itself with another trying to explain the first, and another trying to explain the second, then another and another and another! The web is being spun, and soon it is so tangled there appears to be no way out!
Why does our Father hate lying so much? It means we are following not God, but his archenemy, Satan, the father of all lies and deception; the very one who deceived Adam and Eve, leading them to rebel against their Creator! “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
This is what God hates—character built upon lies and deception. Our character is to be based upon our becoming new creations when we choose Christ as Savior—upon the truth! Jesus continues, “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” John 8:47
We are to be truthtellers! Yet, we can deceive ourselves in many, many ways. Let us learn to recognize Satan’s lying deceptions and counter them with the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God! We may not directly tell a lie, but we can easily deceive ourselves in other areas of life that actually amount to lying.
I move on to the rest of the Ten Commandments. Do I say I know God yet use His name in vain? Honor God by resting in Him one day of the week? Honor my father and mother by living a righteous life even if they’ve been abusive? Commit murder by living with bottled up hatred? Commit adultery if only in my mind? Steal, even if it's the acclaim of others? Bear false witness against people through gossip? Covet what others have or be contented with all God has given me? If I say I know God, but do these things, then I am lying to myself and others.
Then there's forgiveness. God commands us to forgive one another, not only once, but seven times seven…meaning always. Have I lied to myself by thinking I have truly forgiven everyone who has harmed me in life, or do I retain bitterness? Recognizing that bitterness can take deep root, building upon itself and destroying, I need to ask God to help me forgive as He intends. I must turn those who have harmed me over to Him and ask Him to replace that now void place in me with the peace and love I know He wants me to have. I am to forgive as He forgives.
Finally, I ask myself if I place God first, loving Him with all my heart, soul, and mind—the commandment Jesus said was the most important when asked by the Pharisees. And do I love others as much as I love myself, the second commandment Jesus said was like the first? These are commands I want to obey, but is there any way I am fooling myself--lying to myself--about following them?
All these things are so important that I must ask myself each day, “Is there some way I have lied today? Have I deceived myself, living more for self than for my Father and others?” If my answer is yes, I must repent, confess my sin to God, and ask for His forgiveness. I must ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and renew me, giving me the wisdom and strength to live my life in truth.
As I continue weeding, examining the tangled webs I pull from the earth, I ask God to help me truly understand what sin is—how its tendrils may grow and intertwine beneath the earth, spreading continually where no one sees until one day it springs up everywhere, destroying the good ground above. I thank God for this visual and for His reminder that I need to continually clean my house in order to honor His name. So I weed for His sake, for my sake, and for the sake of others.
1. Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field. https://quizzclub.com/trivia/who-first-wrote-oh-what-a-tangled-web-we-weave-when-first-we-practice-to-deceive/answer/207704/
Genesis 3:4 “ ‘You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.’ ”
John 8:44b “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Colossians 3:9 “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.”
1 Peter 2:1 “So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”
Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for your reminder about sin—how it starts out so very little, almost indiscernibly, until like a weed when not dug out in the early stages, sets its roots deep, growing stronger and larger and spreading its evil throughout our bodies, spirits, and souls. Help me to remember to examine myself at the end of each day to discern whether any sin has entered and begun to set root—sin that needs confession so it can be exterminated and replaced by your Spirit and truth. Don’t let me be cut off from You! And help me always to remember that when something is removed , a vacuum is created that must be filled with Your Holy Spirit so that nothing evil will fill that emptiness instead.
Father, You are a good, good Father, daily placing Your truths boldly before me. Please give me a teachable heart that continually seeks You, placing You first in my life!
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.