The Effects of Willingly Deceiving Ourselves Who is In Control?
To Tell the Truth or Not: Part 4 – A Series by Jennifer Miller
Man is indeed one strange animal of complexity. We strive for the best and at the same time we naively believe we are the best. We rely on our wisdom and what stems from this false perspective is what brings us down every time. We are infallible, but deep down inside we feel that we are not.
Delusional? Maybe to an extent, but I believe it is much deeper than that. I believe that we are oppressed by our pride, defiance, rebellion and stubbornness. This is what weighs us down, and if not addressed, this is what prevents us from living a life with purpose. Let’s address each of these areas by defining what they are, how we respond and react when we face issues or conflicts, and how we should respond as Christians.
I begin with pride since everyone at some point struggles with this. Pride is an inordinate self-esteem or conceit. It triggers so many emotions within us. First, it deceives us because it does not zero in on the real danger of pride, which is the fear of the fall. Instead of facing that fear, we camouflage it and seek to protect our status as it is instead of striving to be better or aim higher. Our focus is on the downside of pride because we fail to see what the upside could be. It weakens us because it makes it hard for others to get close to us. We fear becoming vulnerable because of what that would expose. However, it is our vulnerability that strengthens us and shows that we are just like everyone else.
When we are prideful we respond by asserting our supposed superiority over others and believe that we are better than others. We need to reach for the opposite and learn to be humble and accepting of everyone. The prideful are not better but are the same as everyone else.
Our pride does damage as we see in Galatians 6:4 when we think of ourselves first, it does have consequences as we learn in Isaiah 2:12, goes against the very fiber of God and we are then subjected to his justice in James 4:6 and Proverbs 8:13, it brings us down in Proverbs 11:2 and warns us in Romans 12:16 to not be conceited.
“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
“For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.”
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom.”
“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceit.”
Instead we are advised to be humble as the church elect were told in Colossians 3:12, stressing again James 4:6 that we are to be dressed by His grace and not proud, and promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we submit and are humble, God will hear our prayers, forgive us and heal us. However, obedience is the key to this.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Another issue that we must address is our defiance. Defiance is an open resistance and we find ourselves being uncooperative. We respond with anger or with sharp sarcastic biting comments. Our defiance is a sin as James 4:17 points out, we discover in James 1:20 how unproductive anger is, and 2 Timothy 3:16 informs us that all scripture since it is the inspiration of God, benefits us by discipling us or reproofing/correcting us.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The opposite of defiance is cooperation. When we desire to follow God faithfully, we must seek to work together for the better cause which is furthering His kingdom as the whole church elect.
The next issue is rebellion. Rebellion is an open resistance to authority. Instead of getting along and respecting authority, we willfully choose to be vocal and openly disobedient to God’s will. There are two examples of rebellion to drive this point home. The first example is in 1 Samuel 15:23 when Saul disobeys the command of God and he suffers a devastating blow because of it, and the next example is in Numbers 14:9 which shows us that when the Canaanites rebelled it hindered them from retaining their land; thus God promised the possession of the promised land to the Israelites instead, but with the caveat of them not showing fear towards the enemy (Canaanites).
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
“Only rebel ye not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us. Their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not.”
As previously stated, the remedy is that we need to be respectful to those in authority and seek means of peace which can be found when we choose to surrender our old self and become transformed by the hand of God. Submission is a choice that we must make regardless of what the circumstances may lead you to believe as we read in James 4:7. In Psalm 46:10 we learn that God is in control and deserves to be honored and revered as our Sovereign Lord. We are wisely advised in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust His wisdom and obey even when we cannot discern what is going on or why.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Finally, the last issue is our stubbornness. Being stubborn is a determination to not change our attitude or our position on something. Stubbornness bears bad fruit such as making rash decisions and suffering consequences as a result. We refuse to budge because we depend on our wisdom and not God’s. We feel we have the power within to change on our own and we hate to leave the comfort zone that we are currently snuggled in or we choose to do whatever feels good.
Acts 7:51 proves our stubbornness when we resist the Holy Spirit as he prompts us, in 2 Timothy 4:3 we believe in our own wisdom and hear only what we want to hear, we ignore the warning in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and choose to do whatever we want, and we refuse to learn wisdom in Ephesians 5:15-18, but rely on our emotions instead (even though our emotions deceive us).
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye.”
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
We also naively think that we are in control and get offended whenever someone else tells us what to do or tries to define what is right for us. In Isaiah 41:10 we see that God is always with us; thus a constant in our lives, in Psalm 46:10 God is exalted; thus in control over his creation, we learn in Philippians 4:6-7 to depend on God for everything, to pray and ask for what we need, and in Luke 12:22-26 we find no reason to be worried for Our Creator always provides and meets our needs.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee, be not dismayed; for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow or reap; which neither have storehouse or barn; and God feedeth them. How much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?”
We become the fool when we discard the warning in Proverbs 28:26; thus, becoming impetuous in voicing our opinions as we see in Proverbs 18:2-3; 18:13 and Proverbs 29:11.
“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.”
“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
“A fool uttereth all his mind; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
The fool tends to make rash decisions and easily jumps to conclusions and speaks before seeking an answer. Out of this rashness comes shame and a rush to judgment as is verified in Proverbs 25:8 and John 7:24.
“Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame.”
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
Distraction is also related to foolishness when we tend to become so busy that we fail to hear God when He speaks to us. We set ourselves up to do busywork and miss whatever opportunity He sends us. Opportunities are ways for us to continually serve Him (on both sides of heaven) as pointed out in 1 John 2:17, waiting to hear His voice means we should listen for it as restated in Psalm 46:10, and we are asked to faithfully wait and be patient in Psalm 37:7 for each opportunity that comes our way.
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”
The opposite of stubborn is to be compliant and joyfully do what we are called to do. We recognize that we need to work together to find a common ground and open ourselves up to other perspectives that may lead to viable solutions. Titus 2:12 and 2 Timothy 2:15 both show what we reap when we live rightly with God, as well as Romans 12:1-2 show us the proper way to manage our emotions and keep them in check.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
When we can address these issues and gain a better perspective, only then can we find the hidden treasure underneath this. God will always provide a way and has everything under His hand. Jeremiah 29:11 reveals that He wants the best for us.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
When we can set our egos aside and center everything on and around God, we can find peace. We have no need to be self-absorbed, or stubborn, or unwilling to change, but instead we can think of others and their needs, surrender everything we have to God, learn to love and live with one another and reap the benefits of His graciousness. He knows us, He perceives all that we encounter, and He has a plan. Trust it and trust that He is in control and relinquish our so-called independence. Make that choice today, search for God and you will find Him. Know Him and you will find calm and have peace of mind. Grace is a gift He willingly extends to all of us. Why would you turn this gift down and live under the pretense of having it all together on your own? I, like everyone else, do not have it all together, but rather I have God and I know my life is in His hands and that is all I need. Are you ready to have Him meet your needs today?
My final installment in this series will be how we adapt to the worldview despite what is going on around us today. Until then, have a blessed day.