When We Lie to Ourselves

Originally published Wednesday, 04 February 2015.

A couple of months ago, I went to our local cable company to make some needed changes to our account. The person I spoke with convinced me to change my services saying, "It won't cost any more than you already pay and it'll change nothing. You'd be stupid not to take it."

As it turns out, it was stupid to agree it. Our account has since been a mess. When I finally realized what happened, I was angry. Because I was lied to. Most likely, the person got a bonus from talking me into a service I never wanted or needed. And I've thought to myself, "How could someone just flat out lie like that? It's just not right!"

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

But you know what? I lie to myself all the time and never bat an eyelash. If the old childhood rhyme ever came true, my pants would be ablaze. That's because the lies I tell myself are worse than what the cable company told me. These lies are harmful to me emotionally and spiritually. They hinder my relationship with God. They take me down dark paths and shadowy places. And they steal my joy and peace.

Here are just a sampling of the lies I tell myself:

"I can do life on my own"

"How I'm feeling right now matches reality"

"When something bad is happening, God must be punishing me"

"Life is hopeless"

"I'll never be happy unless ________ happens"

Defeating Lies

Lies are slithery, deceptive, and hard to catch. They hide behind seemingly harmless masks of partial truth. Like magicians of old, they create distractions and clouds of smoke, distorting our vision so that we can't see what's real. Like the devil himself, lies desire nothing less than to see us stumble and fall in the darkness.

I can only imagine the glee Satan relished the day he spoke the first lie in the Garden, telling Adam and Eve that they could do life on their own and be like God. Our lives have been destitute of truth ever since. We are all born liars, lying to others and to ourselves. We've become so accustomed to the fog and clouds of deception that we run and hide from truth when it shines into the darkness.

That's why Christ came, to cut into our darkness with the radiant light of his truth. He came to seek out and find us in our hiding places, behind all the useless fig leaves we use to hide the reality of our sin. He came to undo what happened the day Adam and Eve believed that first lie. He came to restore truth because he himself is truth.

He also came to do what we could not do--live a perfect life. He never gave in to temptation or believed the devil's lies. It was the lies of other's that brought him to trial and nailed him to the cross. He bore the punishment we deserved in our place. But in the deepest darkness, truth rose like the morning sun and broke through the chains of death as Jesus rose from the grave, releasing us from the power of sin, shame, and deceit. The fog was cleared, enabling us to see truth with unveiled eyes.

Capturing Lies and Speaking the Truth

Though we've been set free from the power of sin, we still battle the remaining sin that lingers in our hearts. When it comes to the lies we tell ourselves, we need to go head to head against them. We need to remember that Christ has already died and conquered each and every lie. We need to identify the lies and bring them to the cross, applying to them what Christ has accomplished through the gospel.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we need to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Such lies need to be sought out and captured. We cannot allow them to roam free in our minds. We cannot be lazy and passive thinkers. We must be alert and aware of our thoughts.

This means we need to be intentional and diligent in the kinds of thoughts we do think. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about these things." These are the thoughts we need in our minds and the ones we want to foster, take root, and grow.

This is why we need to be believers who know God's word. The Bible is the foundation, source, and beginning of all truth. The more we study, meditate, dwell on, learn, and memorize God's word, the more truth we will know to combat the lies. And, if we know the truth, it is easier to identify what is false.

So, if you are like me and lie to yourself, you don't have to sit back and listen. Don't be a passive thinker. Remember that every lie you tell yourself, Christ has already paid for and redeemed. Stand against the lies with the truth of God's word.

How about you? Do you ever lie to yourself?