Developing the character of a disciple: Chapter 10 - how to develop truthfulness
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How we can develop 'the love of the truth' and the character quality , and habit, of truthfulness

The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth. Psalm 145:18 (RSV)

Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit. Psalm 34:13 (ESV)

Take heed lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, Deuteronomy 11:16 (RSV)

“……… and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much” Luke 16:10 (b) (RSV)

16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD." Zechariah 8:16-17 (ESV)

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices Colossians 3:9 (RSV)

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. 1 Peter 2:1 (RSV)

You have to make a clear decision to cut out all lies, without exception or compromise and then keep watch over your heart

I have come to the conclusion that the only way for a person to change the habit of a life time and stop being a liar is to come off it "cold turkey". Lying has to be stopped 100% and overnight. Lies are something that we learn to rely on and which we get used to. Therefore, they seem natural. There is no safe level, or acceptable number, of lies that can be continued with after we become a Christian. They all have to go, however small they may seem to you. You have to declare to yourself "No more lies, whatsoever, to anybody, any time". And you need to mean it, because if you say that, you will certainly be tested on it:

23Watch over your heart with all diligence,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24Put away from you a deceitful mouth
and put devious speech far from you.
25Let your eyes look directly ahead and
let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Proverbs 4:23-25 (NASB)

Why not do as Job did? Make a promise to yourself that you will not tell any lies at all to anybody. This is how Job put it:

as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
4 my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit. Job 27:3-4 (RSV)

Go further and do as King David did. He resolved to walk with integrity of heart and not to set before his eyes anything that is base. He said that second point because we can easily be tempted into sin as a result of what we see. This is very true of men, so many of whom have a problem with pornography. Therefore resolve not to look at it. Better still, set your computer to block it, as when it is set for a child:

“… I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is base….” Psalm 101:2(b)-3(a) (RSV)

You have responsibility for the condition of your own heart. “It is your most important stewardship", as the Bible teacher, Chuck Missler, often says. What he means is that if you can guard and preserve your own integrity, and remain honest in all things at all times, then all other areas of your life will go well. If you don't take that stewardship of your own heart seriously enough, then the rest of your life will end up in a mess. It has to be all or nothing. You must decide to cut out all lies, no matter what the circumstances and no matter what the cost.

You also need to ask for God's help to achieve this new lifestyle of truthfulness and to deal with the repercussions which it will inevitably produce. Ask Him to help you. Also ask Him to expose, and remove from your life, anything that would tempt you to lie. That is how seriously you need to take this:

7Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
8Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
9That I not be full and deny You and say,
"Who is the LORD?"
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30:7-9 (NASB)

It would be far better to stay poor if becoming rich caused or required us to become a liar, either in getting the riches, or in keeping them. If that fact doesn't seem real to you and the awfulness of dishonesty still doesn't resonate with you, then ask God to change your heart attitude. Ask Him to give you His attitude to truth and to enable you to value it as He does, so that you become a modern day ‘Nathanael’.

God promises to grant us anything we ask for, provided it is in accordance with His will. Therefore if there is one prayer you can be sure He will be delighted to answer, it is a heart-felt prayer to help you to become an entirely honest person and to give you the love of the truth. He will not refuse that request, if you really mean it, because it is undoubtedly His will for you to become such a person.

Having said that, neither will He do it all for you. If it is up to you to decide that you want the love of the truth and to be determined to choose truth over lies every time. God will not do that for you, but He will help you to change, if you really want Him to.

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