“Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” Psalm 119:29

It is Satan's favorite weapon, his modis operandi:  self deception.  It runs deep in a bedrock of pride, and it can be hard to root out.

Perhaps one of these scenarios strikes a chord:  the woman who overspends on luxuries, telling herself she deserves it for all she does and puts up with; the husband who justifies pornography or adultery, telling himself his wife has no desire to satisfy his needs, when the truth is that he's shown no interest in her; the grown, ungrateful child with no sense of responsibility or obligation--lazy and entitled.

Entitled.  Isn't that what each of these people feel?

"I shouldn't have to                         !"

Perhaps Jesus shouldn't have had to die on the cross for you and for me.  But He did.  And, each day He calls to us, asking us to carry our own cross to Golgotha's hill, to crucify our own selfish desires and embrace His life-giving ones, and see beyond what our human eyes see to the truth that is eternal.

Will you come?

Or, will you remain lost in self-deception, and then take it a step further.  When someone lovingly tries to point you to the truth, showing you the error of your way, will you allow pride to get in the way?  Will you end up thinking the poor pitiful soul speaking truth to you is the erring, misguided one?

I've found it's harder to be self-deceived when we're humble.  Perhaps that's why our loving Heavenly Father put so much value on humility.

James 4:9-10 tells us something we don't hear in American culture very often anymore, but we should.  It says, "Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you."

Galatians 6:3 says, "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself."

And, 1 Corinthians 3:18 tells us, "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise." 

The older I get, the more I realize how foolish I really am, and that the only truth, the only wisdom to be found in this world is in Jesus Christ alone and in His Word.

When I was a little girl and first decided to follow Jesus, my sweet mother taught me to make a habit of confessing my sins when they occurred, and taking stock of those sins I may not have been keenly aware of each night as I said my prayers.  I asked God to forgive me for each one.  It is something John the Baptist required before baptizing new followers of Jesus (Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5).

Psalm 32:6 says, "Now I say that each believer should confess his sins to God when he is aware of them, while there is time to be forgiven. Judgment will not touch him if he does."

1 John 1:9 tells us, "But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins."  

As I've gotten older, I've found the only remedy for self-deception to be in reading God's Word every day, and confession and repentance of my own sin--each day and each night.  It is only there that I find and live in real joy.

Goodnight, Runners.


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