So, I was somewhat casually doing my Bible reading for today from Colossians chapter 3, when I came across verse 9 and read, “Do not lie to yourself…” Wait! What? Well, if you check it out, that’s not what the verse says. Rather, it reads, “Do not lie to each other….” A bit different, isn’t it?
But as so often happens to me, I was pretty convicted by my error. Here are just a few of the ways I lie to myself. I’m guessing the same things will be true of you.
I lie to myself when I deny my own sinfulness. 1 John 1:10 makes this clear when it says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him (God) out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” Romans 3 presses the point home when we read, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (v. 10); “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…” (v. 23). Pretty hard to get around the point that “no one,” “not even one,” “all,” is inclusive language—that clearly includes me.
I lie when I think I can meet God’s standard on my own. Oh, I admit I’m pretty delusional if I think that, because God’s standard is extremely high: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). I can’t even convince myself I’m perfect in any way, regardless of what lies I may be telling myself. But the good news here is clearly stated in Ephesians 5:2, “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” And, of course, John 3:16-17 offers further assurance that God loves us and has made the sacrifice necessary for us to be accepted to the Father.
I lie to myself when I form an exalted opinion of who and what I am. Paul warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3). It’s pretty informative to read the context of this verse. Just take a moment to read Romans 12:1-8. That will give you a good idea of what God thinks of you, and how He wants you to act and interact with others.
One last one (although there could be many, many more). I lie to myself when I think I don’t need the Holy Spirit. In John 16 Jesus tells us why He would send the Holy Spirit to us:
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned….But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” (John 16:7-11, 13-14, emphasis added)
The truth is, we cannot live as Christ followers without the Holy Spirit. He is the one who will take even the most random thought—like my misreading of this verse—and “guide you into all the truth,” even when the truth is inconvenient and painful.
Even though I misread the verse, the Holy Spirit spoke truth to my heart. And that’s never a bad thing.