Trying to live the truthful life will put you in direct conflict with Satan. Jesus called Satan the “father of lies.” Jesus said that when Satan speaks, he speaks his native language—lying (John 8:44). Satan is a master deceiver, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he particularly likes convincing us that lying is no big deal—just something that everyone does. Satan’s lying began in the Garden of Eden, and it continues now. He started by questioning God’s word, denying God’s word, and then suspecting God’s motives. And he does the same thing today. Satan is the ultimate master of spin. His goal is to get you separated from God’s presence; his ultimate objective is to destroy you. He starts by getting you to believe that a “little white lie” won’t hurt anyone. And in so doing, Satan works hard to keep us from being truthful and transparent about ourselves. He knows that the truth will set us free. If he can get us to be deceptive, including by wearing a protective, phony mask, then he can keep us in bondage.
I once struggled to prepare a sermon for our university chapel service, sensing that the Lord wanted me to be very transparent about my personal struggles with temptation and sin. But then I began to hear Satanic lies whispered in my ears like, “Students and faculty will lose respect for you!” and “If you share about the real you, people won’t like you.” I started to feel great pressure to put on the “Christian university professor” mask, pretending that I had everything together. But in the end, the Lord gave me courage to be honest. I shared about my struggle with pornography and the brokenness in my life that resulted from having been emotionally and sexually abused as a boy. The response to my chapel sermon was absolutely amazing. I discovered that transparency will often raise you in the eyes of others, not lower you. I found out people can handle the truth! And because of my willingness to be truthful and transparent, many students have sought me out for counsel. The truthful life is certainly not an easy one, but it is a powerful catalyst for ministry.
Living the truthful life can also have a significant effect on your family, and especially on your children. Proverbs 20:7 says, “The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” I used to become discouraged when I read the word blameless in Scripture; taking it to mean perfection—something I could never attain. But one day I had a new thought: If I openly confess, blaming myself first for my sin, then others can’t blame me——because I have already done the blaming! I discovered it was possible after all for Michael Nichols to be a blameless man! Living the truthful life leads to living a blameless life, because no one will ever be able to dig up dirt on you—you have already shown everyone all the dirt. No one will ever be able to find skeletons in your closet, because you have already opened all your closet doors for everyone to see inside. Living the truthful life will also pull the plug on Satan’s accusations, leaving them no more power over you. Since you have already accused yourself, Satan has no material with which to use against you.
Reflections: Are there things in your past or your present that you need to openly confess so that Satan can no longer accuse you? Ask God to give you courage to thoroughly clean house, exposing any skeletons in your closet to the light of Christ.
The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.