You can’t have a relationship with God unless you’re honest. It’ll destroy your relationship with God. Jesus said, why? “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Can I make it strong? God hates lying. He detests it. He bristles at even white lies. Why? Because He is truth. And truth is a prerequisite to trust. And lying destroys trust.
He wants you to be honest because He wants you to experience intimacy with Him. Power in your relationship with Him. And you know what this means? Don’t translate this into, I’ve got to be perfect. What it means is, you have to be honest. You’re not going to be perfect. You’re going to mess up. You know what it means is?
Instead of spending all your energy trying to hid your mess up, or rationalize your mess up, or blaming your parents, or your boss, or your mate, or your kids for your mess up, you get honest and you own your part of the mess up!
And you come before God and say, “I’m sorry.” 1 John 1:9. “I agree about my mess up and I confess it. And I’m asking you, on the basis of the work of Jesus on the cross, will you again cleanse me and forgive me?” And you know what God says? “Yes.” Why? “I love you.”
You think the biggest mess up in your life, I don’t know what it is, you think God was surprised by that? You think that in all eternity, the mess up or that big mistake or that big lie, you think God went, “Oh man! I didn’t see that one coming.” How many of your sins were future when Jesus died on the cross? All of them. He wants you to be honest.
The second reason, it destroys our relationship with ourselves. Not only does the lack of honesty or truthfulness destroy our relationship with God, it destroys our relationship with ourselves. Proverbs 10:9. “The man of integrity walks securely but he who takes a crooked path will be found out.”
One translation says, “He who walks in integrity walks securely but he who perverts his way…” It’s knowing what’s right to do, you come to a path and you ought to take the left fork instead of the right fork and you take the wrong one. He says, when we do that, you will be found out.
And it happens around religious stuff. Acts chapter 5. Isn’t this interesting? The very first sin recorded in the church is what? It’s lying. And the lying is to what? Promote hypocrisy. The lack of authenticity. Ananias and Sapphira cut a deal in the back room. Barnabas, you know, he seems real generous. He’s getting a lot of strokes in, you know, the worship time. “Yay, Barnabas. Yay, Barnabas.” You know, he sold this big thing and gave it unto the feet of the apostles and he’s sharing.
So Ananias and Sapphira says, “You know, we’d kind of like to get our cake and eat it too. Why don’t we sell this piece of property but we’ll tell them we sold it for so much so we get all the, you know, accolades of people and we’ll hold this much back.”
And remember Ananias walks before Peter? And he says, “We’ve done this great noble thing.” Lie. And Peter says, “Wait a second. Ananias, is this what you actually paid for it?” “Yes.” Lie. He said, “Ananias, before you sold it, whose was it? It’s yours. After you sold it, whose was it? It’s yours. But God doesn’t make any demands for you to sell this property and give it. But what you have done you have,” remember the phrase? “you have lied to the Holy Spirit.” And do you remember the dramatic judgment of God on the very first sin in the church for lying? Bang. He’s dead.
Few hours later, his wife comes in. Admits to the same thing. And the men who picked up his body and took him out and buried him, picked up her. It destroyed his relationship. The duplicity. It destroyed his relationship with his God, with others, and himself.
Dishonesty is the father of self-hatred. And by the way, it’s the root of a lot of depression. Dishonesty is the father of self-hatred. And peace is impossible when integrity is breached. That unsettled feeling, that lack of connection in prayer, that lack of the sense of peace. Colossians 3:15, remember what that says? “Let the peace of Christ rule,” or literally, “act as an arbitrator or an umpire in your heart.”
See, when I lie and I move off the truth, I lose that sense of peace. When you lose that sense of connection and peace and it is well with your soul type sense, often it’s because we’ve lied. And you know what? God doesn’t want you to live that way. He wants you to live with the, “it is well with my soul no matter what” type experience.
I had two buddies that we decided that we were going to go to the next level, spiritually. And they were on staff, I knew one for, gosh, now over twenty years and the other for well over a decade. And we just had that chemistry within our staff and we worked very closely together. And we came together and we made a covenant. And we made a covenant that we were going to, I mean, deal with some issues in our life.
We really wanted to grow. Bar-nothing. I mean, this thing was growing and blowing and multiplying and we realized, you know, the great, the worse thing that could happen is if one of us went south morally. And whether it was in our integrity or our speech or our sexuality and we just said, you know what, let’s covenant together to be, like, honest like never before. Accountability.
And we each shared one area that we felt God really wanted us to develop and grow in. And so I shared mine with these couple guys. And mine was, I have this personality type, you let the experts figure it out. But I’m a people person. I get energized by people. Like, after tonight, honestly, if I wasn’t so tired I could sit and drink coffee, twenty-eight, thirty hours with people at fifteen minute increments and just hear about your life and it would just jazz me. I just love it. I just love being around people.
But I have this other part that is very task oriented. That’s like, hey, let’s get things done and there’s the goal and let’s make it happen. And so, around people and things like this, I’m real, like, people oriented. And when I get in meetings, like meetings, I want short, focused, bottom line, prepared, get it done. This is mine. I got mine done. I need to do this. I need this from you. What about you? What about you? What about you? Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Let’s go. You know? And so it’s kind of, I forget, someone says, “High-D” whatever that means.
And what would happen is is that I would get in a management team meeting and I would be this, Chip, hey having fun with everyone. Then we’d get in the meeting, we’d have the agenda, and we’d get it laid out, and I’d get this tone in my voice that was like, “Get with the program.” And I was unaware of how that was effecting a couple staff members in the group.
And so these two close brothers said, “You know that time when you said, we want to shoot it straight and really love one another and all that? Well, we now have a chance to practice this.” And I said, “Well, great. How are you two doing on it?” “No, it’s not with us, it’s with you.”
And they said, “You know, we understand you and we know. But people are getting a double message. They feel like you really care and love them. And then in those meetings, your intensity is so high that they just can’t quite get you. And that tone of voice? There’s an edge to it. And it makes people feel like they’ve messed up and there’s something wrong with them. And Chip, you need to change that.”
“Okay, thanks guys. I really, I’m going to, okay, man, we said covenant. Ooh hoo, yeah. Here, I’m going to do that. I’m going to do that.” So I go to a management team meeting about two days later and I have a doctor’s appointment, I blew out my knee and this guy was going to get it fixed up and I’m driving.
And as I’m driving I realize my peace is gone. I mean, I can’t remember, I don’t remember saying something bad, I can’t remember doing something wrong. But it’s just, the peace is gone. And, so you know, when you drive in the car, I like to pray or maybe sing some songs and it’s just like, I feel like I’m in this tin can alone and I’m in the car and God’s not and it’s like bummer.
So I’m thinking, you know, I’m getting real smart at this age. “Hey God, is there something wrong? You know, maybe somewhere, somehow, someway?
You know? Could you tell me, like, real gently?” And it’s like the Lord said, “Yeah, as a matter of fact.”
And it was like he pushed a little video tape. Tch, tch, tch, tch, tch, tch, tch. And it’s like I could watch myself in this meeting and in my mind, I mean, I felt great about everybody.
And I got to see the level of intensity and the couple of expressions. And, aw man. That’s what they were talking about. I did it again.
And on the way back from the doctor, you know, I just stopped and got on my phone and called both those guys and I said, “Hey guys. Was there any chance that what you asked me to correct that I did in this meeting? Because this is what happened and I think I offended so and so and so and so at that meeting during this part and that part.”
And they said, “Well, we were going to talk to you when you got back.” And I said, “Well, you don’t need to. One, will you forgive me?” And they said, “Yeah.” “And two, would you make sure those two people are available. I’ll be back in the office in about fifteen minutes. I need to apologize to them.”
Whew. I had another little trip that day. I just was singing in the car. Why? Integrity and honesty allow you to have a rich, intimate, deep relationship with God and allows you to be at peace with yourself. The lack of integrity, the lack of honesty with God, yourself, and others destroys your relationship with God. It will destroy your relationship with yourself. And finally, it destroys your relationship, can you write the word in? You know it, don’t you? With others. It destroys your relationship with others.
Proverbs 25:26 says, “Like a muddled spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” You know, a righteous man, a man like Abraham does what? He lies about his wife to a king and then he does what to the relationship with the king? He says, “Abraham! Man, what are you doing to me here? I can’t believe it. I could have, I could be in big trouble and you lied to me.” He alienates his relationship through a lie with the king and I don’t know about you, I don’t have a lot of record, I’m not sure Sarah’s real happy for at least a few months. You know? I think this “you’re my sister” stuff’s growing pretty old. Can you imagine going to bed one night in the harem and going, “Well, I guess, Abraham. Whatever you say.” You know? You know, like, where’s the real man in my life? Well, why did he do it? Because he was afraid. Because he was insecure.
Or, you know, remember Joshua 7? Talk about destroying relationship with others. Remember Achan and his lie? Did that have any impact on the people close to him? It’s lethal. See, you never sin in a vacuum. Sins are like pebbles or boulders, depending on the sin, the time, the place, and the impact. And they go into the water of life and then the ripples go out from them. And that’s why it’s so critical to be a man or a woman of integrity.
I love the word picture here. In the ancient Near East, a muddled spring or a polluted well. He’s giving us a word picture. A trampled spring, literally, is if you’ve ever been to Israel. I’ve only been once but I really want to go back. But whatever the picture I had in my mind, it wasn’t like it when I went there. When I got there, it was like, a lot of it looks like desert. I mean, it’s like really dry. You can understand why Jesus used the metaphors about water. Where there’s water, there’s life. And if there’s not water. There’s death.
And so, what they would have is they would have an oasis or a spring and people would come from miles with their animals. And everyone knew, I mean, that’s life right there. That’s the spring. And so people were real careful with their animals and they would take turns. Well, if you were from out of town or far away, you didn’t care about that spring. And muddled spring, some people would drive their cattle or their camels through it.
And they would just go right through it and let the animals get in the water and the animals would defecate in it and urinate. Sorry to be a little graphic but, you know, it’s good Old Testament history I’m giving you here. And so, I mean, it would literally poison or ruin the water.
And so, people later that day would bring their cattle or camels to come find life and instead what? Death. And he says, that’s what it’s like when a woman of God or a man of God gives way before the wicked.
You are the greatest Christian someone knows. You’re the greatest church member someone knows. And they watch your life, and they watch your tongue, and they watch your time, and they watch your relationships. And when they come to find life from you but because of a lack of integrity, instead of finding life they find death. Do you see how it impacts others?
This, for me, has been the most motivating passage for personal integrity in all of my life. I just realized, especially in what we all do but especially in what I do, people expect and should expect, not at all a perfect life because they’d be… My family could tell them, I mean, not even in the ballpark.
But a life that keeps short accounts where what you say, and how you say you live, line up closely, never perfectly this side of heaven, but closely. But it can’t be like this [moves hands apart]. Because people come to you and to me as believers to find life. And like a trampled spring or a well, same picture, that gets polluted, so is a righteous man or a righteous woman who gives way before the wicked. Our life, by word or deed, needs to reveal the righteousness of Christ.
Okay. You feel beat up enough yet? They’re the Ten Commandments, like, that’s why they were made in stone, I guess. I mean, you know, it’s one thing to say, you know, I don’t lie. Boy, when you look at it like this. Are you ready to declare war, in your personal life, on deceit? I mean, even the white lies. Even when you’re silent and you let some people believe stuff that you know isn’t true. Are you ready, at this point, to say, you know something? Time out. From this day forward, from this moment, in this room, I will be a man, I will be a student, I will be a woman who progressively lives and tells and speaks the truth.
I will overcome my fear, I will overcome my insecurities, I will overcome the habit. I will overcome whatever causes me to not tell the truth. Because I’ve got to be a truth teller. And, if so, let me give you a game plan. Okay? Got that pen out? Good. Let me give you five or six practical ways to become a truth teller.
Number one, consider the source of lies. This is theological but it really helps me. Consider the source of lies. Satan is the father of lies. When I lie, I am most like him.
You ever think about it that way? He’s a liar from the beginning. There’s no truth in him. Aren’t those the words of Jesus? When I lie, what is he? He is a deceiver. When I lie, I’m never more like Satan than when I lie.
His whole strategy, this whole world system. This desire to wreck your life, and wreck your marriage, and wreck your future, and give you a distorted picture about you and God and others and this whole plan to divide people in Christian organizations and churches. There is one strategically behind it and his major weapon is lying. When I lie, I put on a jersey that has his number on the back. And when I think of it that way, it motivates me to tell the truth.
The second way is confession. Just admit it. God, I have a problem here. Just admit it. I have a problem. Confession. And by the way, this deal of verbalizing it to other people when you blow it is a purifying habit. It will really help you. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, God, I lied, I’m sorry.”
Now, you never go tell someone you lied if it will do further damage here or there. But when God makes it clear that there’s something to it that’s more than your personal private confession and he makes it really clear, you need to go ahead and fess up with another person in an appropriate way. And you can’t quite get peace until that keeps coming to you. Go do it. It will be so motivating for telling the truth in the future.
Third step is to meditate on how God feels about lying. I mean, sometimes I think, you know, it’s just the world that we get thinking like God is the Force. God is a person. God has feelings. The Scripture says, lying is an abomination to Him. He hates it. He hates it!
I mean, would you want to do something that your husband hates or that your wife hates or that you knew every time you did it, it just, it cringes and makes your kids hate it or your closest friend?
We need to mediate and realize, we’re not lying to an invisible timeless force who keeps the world spinning. God is a person. He has feelings. In fact, He grieves. We said, don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. You know what grief is? Grief is the feeling and emotion of pain and sorrow when someone has violated the relationship.
It helps me to remember, I don’t want to make God sad. I don’t want to make Jesus sad. I don’t want to break His heart. See, it personalizes it. The Christian life isn’t this set of principles and doing right and doing good and staying moral and trying to be nice, read your Bible and pray and give some money and go to church and try and live a good life.
That is not the Christian life. The Christian life is a relationship with God, through Christ, that’s vital and living and loving and a lot of that, the overflow will be, you will want to read your Bible, and you’ll end up praying, and you want to be with the fellowship of people, and you want to share what He’s given. And it will change your morals. But you know what? It’s not fulfilling that list. It’s about your heart fulfilling a relationship.
Changes how you think of things.
The fourth way is to pray specifically. I’ve gone through seasons where I’ve prayed Psalm 141:3, “Lord, put a guard over my lips.” And I’ve actually really seen him answer it. But pray specifically. “Lord, I realize I tell white lies. Lord Jesus, I want a covenant with You. Would You help me, today, to tell the truth? Lord, just before a lie comes out of my mouth today, would You put a guard over my lips?” And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation. Someone has said something and my response, it’s come directly to my mind. Mmm! It gets right below my teeth and I’m just ready to say it and God says, “That’s not true.”
And I go, “Mmm, yeah, but I want to say it. They’ll think it makes me look good, and it puts someone down, and they made me mad yesterday, and I didn’t realize it until right now, and I’d like to put them down, and I wanna…” Don’t say it! And it gets caught right between my teeth. And I can’t help but believe that God just answered my prayer.
Now, you know what, sometimes it gets caught right between my teeth and I say it anyway. And then I gotta repent and I gotta go deal the deal. But I’m telling you, as you pray specifically about lying, God will give you a truthful lips and truthful heart.
And something that, very helpful, number five is consider putting it in print. In the personal life, because sometimes you lie in your motives. Sometimes things happen with people and it’s not appropriate. It’s just not appropriate to go talk to them. You would make a bigger issue talking to them than dealing with it privately. And so, you know, it’s not for everybody but I keep a journal. And when, you know, I write yesterday and I write, kind of, some general things about just yesterday in general, where I’m at.
But mine is a journal of the heart. I’m not trying to figure what I did yesterday or this or that. And then, you know, I’ll write “Thanksgiving” and I’ll think of some things I’m thankful for and then often I’ll have, I put little boxes so I can put checks through them.
“God, I’m trusting today, will you please…” and I’ll write down a few prayer requests. And then I’ll often put a big C for confession. And then I’ll just put my pen down and say, “Lord, would you bring to my mind anything that, you know, would separate me from you? And I just want to be clean today.”
And this is one where God just, I think he delights to answer my prayers really quickly. And he’ll just bring real vividly, I’ll remember a conversation and I tell you what. This is really, really purifying.
“Dear God, I’m very sorry, I didn’t just exaggerate, I lied to so and so in the meeting. He asked me about this and this is what I told him.” And you know when you write it and you just see it in front of you, it’s like, that is so ugly.
But you know what I’ve found? I’ve found we usually gloss over that and we think, well, most Christians don’t tell the whole truth anyway and, you know, God probably grades on the curve and no one’s perfect and we continue to lie. Put it in print.
And then the last one here is invite ruthless accountability. Those couple guys, wherever I’ve gone, I’ve found some group somewhere with a level of chemistry, connection, and openness. Invite ruthless accountability. You gotta have a couple people in your life, of the same sex. And obviously you need this at huge levels in your marriage, those of you who are married. But you gotta find some people because there’s issues that men deal with that are different than women and there’s issues that women deal with that are different than men.
You need at least a couple people in your life where it is ruthless accountability. Where you, two things, where you can shoot is so straight and they can call you on the carpet in a New York minute and the relationship is never at risk. And the other is, you can admit it so straight and what you don’t get is condemnation and, “Oh, how could a Christian like you ever think that thought?”
I mean, I got enough of that going on inside my head. I need a couple guys that say, “Chip, I’m going to love you no matter what.” And as a couple of them have said, “And by the way, if you ever go down any of these paths,” and one of them is pretty big. “So help me, I will physically, I will just take you and you will wish you never did.” To which is, I don’t know if he’d really do that or not but I don’t think I’m ever going to test the waters on that one.
But you know what it is? He loves me. He just loves me and he wants me to know in, sort of his old ex-football coaching lingo, I will kick you from this side of the United States to the other if you ever do anything or violate this or don’t tell me the truth. You know what a comfort it is? I can go to that guy. In fact I was in California, we had a three hour breakfast. And in a three hour breakfast, I started from my personal life to my marriage to my work and I went, prrrrrrrr. Here’s where I’m at, man. And he did the same.
And I’ll tell you what. There’s not many gifts that are sweeter or better than that person or two in your life. Find them. If you don’t have it, pray for them. Those are the kind of prayers God will answer. Ask God for those kind of people that you can say, would you covenant? I want to be a truth teller. And God will answer your prayer.
Well, God wants us to be truth tellers but God also wants to be, us to be truth receivers.
And this conclusion’s a little different. You can put your pen down. What I’m going to tell you will not be new. Just relax, take this old pen, watch this, stick it right in the pocket. For those of you that brought the highlighter, I brought my highlighter. In the pocket.
There’s four airtight truths you can’t afford to be deceived on. I got two minutes. Two minutes is all it’s going to take. I’m going to give you four airtight truths. God wants you to be a truth teller. But as we end the ninth commandment, he wants you to be a truth receiver.
Airtight truth number one He wants you to receive. He wants you to believe. Don’t be deceived. This is the truth.
God loves you and is pursuing an intimate relationship with you. Do you believe that? Can you receive that? God loves you. He loves you. He’s for you. He wants you. He wants to have a relationship with you. You matter. You’re important. You’re unique. You’re special. That’s the truth.
The lie is, you don’t matter. The lie is, you’re too far gone. The lie is, He doesn’t care. The lie, He cares about people that are smarter, more intellectual, more spiritual, more moral, more something. Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie.
Truth airtight number one: God loves you tonight. Right where you’re at, right as you are.
Airtight truth number two: you are a sinner. You have lied, you have stolen, you have lusted, and you have disqualified yourself by your sin to have a relationship with God.
I mean, we’re on command nine, if you haven’t got it by now, you’re in total denial. Alright? We’re all in this together. You’re a sinner. And sinner’s not like bad person. Sinner is a fall-short person. You know, God says, in the area of truth telling, you have to score a hundred. Never lie ever. If you don’t score a hundred, you fall short. You’re a sinner. You miss the mark.
God says, in the area of moral purity, you have to score a hundred. Never lust anytime, anyway, in your mind, thought, word, or deed. God says, in having no other gods before you, you always have to score a hundred. Not even a little idol, not even a partial bad day or a bad thought.
If you don’t score a hundred on all Ten Commands, all times, in your whole life, you are a sinner. And God is holy. And here’s what He says. Then you’re disqualified, by your sin, to have a relationship with a pure and holy God.
The lie is, you’re okay. The lie is that God will weigh your good deeds and your bad deeds. The lie is that someway, sometime, maybe later when you think about it, you’ll deal with your sin problem. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Airtight truth number one, you are loved by God. Airtight truth number two, you are a sinner and you have disqualified yourself from a relationship with a holy God.
Airtight truth number three: Jesus is God’s one and only remedy for sin. He died to redeem and save your life from your sin now and forever.
Airtight truth number three. Jesus died on the cross two thousand years ago. His blood was spilled to pay for your sin. All that you ever have committed, all that you ever will commit. To redeem, or literally buy you back so that you could have a relationship with God the Father based totally and completely on His work on the cross and resurrection.
Airtight truth number one, you are loved by God. Airtight truth number two, you are a sinner and you’ve disqualified yourself from a relationship with God. And airtight truth number three, Jesus loves you and died in your place to purchase salvation for you.
Airtight truth number four: how you respond to the top three truths will determine your eternity forever.