Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Alicia Clarke
I find myself trying to teach my kids that it is better to confess their sin and tell the truth, as without doing that, most times, they will find themselves needing to further lie to conceal the misdeed, which makes the original sin so much bigger!
Most of us complicate our lives with dishonesty. Consider that whenever we are not truthful, we create an alternate reality. And subsequently, we are forced to live a life in both worlds: the true one and the one we’ve created. On the other hand, when we choose honesty in all aspects of life, including our marriage, our business, and our relationships, we live the same life wherever we are. Honesty leads to simplicity, but dishonesty leads to duplicity – the exact opposite. Proverbs 10:9 speaks to this: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
Consider the other benefits of an honest lifestyle:
- Closer friendships. Honesty and integrity pave the way for greater intimacy. Your friends love the “true you,” not the one you’ve artificially created.
- Higher quality friends. Honesty attracts honesty. People who are trustworthy and honest attract trustworthy and honest friends. And those are the best friends to have.
- Trust. Honest people are trusted by others.
- Less stress – Dishonesty needs to be maintained. Pretending to be something you are not requires constant attention to detail, even for the most experienced. Honest people are better able to relax because they are just being themselves and, naturally, feel better about themselves and less overwhelmed. Unfortunately, early in life, we learn that dishonesty can have incredible short-term benefits. It can get us out of trouble. It can get us what we want. It can make it easier to please the people around us. But dishonesty requires a lot of mental effort to keep up the façade, to hide the sin and ultimately, more deception must be committed to conceal the truth.
Living an honest life takes effort – it is easy to sin, and it takes great discipline to do what is right. It requires a decision to pursue it and some action steps to get it started. 2 Timothy 2:22 states we are to “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
To get started, consider some of these essential truths to living an honest life:
- Christ-like character and integrity in your life make honesty easier. When you choose to live a life with Christ-like character, you will soon realize that you have nothing to hide… and honesty is a much easier path if you don’t have anything to hide. There are countless aspects to this point that pertain to our spouses, our children, our bosses, and friends. Pursue honesty in all of them.
- Consider the long-term consequences of a short-term gain. As I mentioned, one of the reasons that we begin living dishonestly in the first place is that the short-term gains seem obvious. Unfortunately, these short-term gains have long-term consequences. We would be wise to consider them and count the real cost of our decisions.
- Living an honest life on the outside requires you to live an honest life on the inside. If you are going to be completely honest with others, you’ve got to be completely honest with yourself. If we have sins in our lives that we have been denying, we need to acknowledge them, repent of them, and address them.
Honesty is the best policy, and it requires the effort of us enacting Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:22-24 to put off our old self that has been corrupted by its deceitful desires and to put on the new self, rooted in God’s truth. And that’s the truth!