Zev Porat

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Reality of Lies: Colossians 3:9-10

By James Christopher Powell

If you have ever seen someone construct a house of cards, you know how difficult it is to complete the task. Playing cards are strategically placed in a specific order so that each card is balanced upon the base of the structure, or the layer of cards that came before, and counterbalanced to help provide support for the layers to come. This process takes extreme precision, a steady hand, and a good amount of practice. Once completed it looks amazing, and I, for one, marvel at those who can complete a structure made solely from a deck of playing cards. However, the amazing-looking structure is also very fragile. One draft of wind resulting from a passerby, one bump of the foundation upon which the structure rests, even one exhaling too close to the structure and it will collapse in a matter of seconds. Usually this end is met with gasps of disappointment and frustration over the amount of work put into the project only to have it fail by such a seemingly small cause. I can think of no better example than a house of cards to help illustrate how lies and deception work in the reality of life. Lies are so fragile and built upon the most unreliable of foundations—the lack of truth. When lies and deception go on uncorrected, they are built upon each other and counterbalanced with more lies in order to build a structure that looks amazing but has no substance or structural integrity. At the first and slightest test of integrity, lies disintegrate into a pile of rubble, thus revealing the true character of the individual who built up the lies and deception.


At first thought, you may be wondering why someone would tackle the idea of lying. Telling the truth as opposed to lying is an elementary idea taught to toddlers and children by using simple words and childlike examples so that they grasp the principle. However, in today's society (and I am sure in societies past) lying has become commonplace. While blatant lying is prevalent today, lies are also dressed up as purposefully withholding information, not telling everything you know when asked, exaggeration, manipulation, half-truths, and acting with the intent of apologizing later. These examples are attempts to get as close as possible to lying without actually crossing the line, but in reality these examples are manipulations of truth and thus a lie. Such examples are prevalent in all walks of life from average people, to leaders of companies, community leaders, political figures, and government officials. However, regardless of who lies or how elementary a study on lying may be, the fact is lying has created much havoc in human history.


Most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God at Mt. Sinai. Exodus 20 contains the first giving of these commandments at Mt. Sinai and Deuteronomy 5 contains the second giving of the commandments. One of those commandments is "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" found in Exodus 20:16 and Deuteronomy 5:20. However, this is not the only admonition against lying found within Scripture. Leviticus, Proverbs, and Colossians are among those biblical books that speak to lying as something unacceptable especially for those who are people of God. From these passages directly about lying, we can gather that lying is contrary to the character and nature of Holy God. God is truth and as such those who are his children are to exemplify His character by loving, accepting, and proclaiming truth. This can be seen clearly from Colossians 3:9-10 that reads, "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." In Paul's instruction to the believers at Colossi, Paul argued that those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should no longer operate according to the worldly standard of living so prevalent around them, but should put off the practices of the world and live according the nature and character of God through Jesus Christ. Thus, one of the worldly behaviors the believer should put off, do away with, and destroy is the idea and action of lying—it is not of God's nature and, therefore, has no place in the lives of those who belong to Jesus Christ. This destroying also applies to the manipulations of lying mentioned above.


Again, I am aware this is a very basic principle for some believers, but I am also aware that many believers are young in their faith in Jesus Christ and may be struggling with lying or the manipulations of lying. We need to clothe ourselves with the complete truth of God. And, one aspect of that is allowing the Holy Spirit to convict of areas in our lives where we have accepted the worldly influences of lying, deceit, and manipulations. Another aspect of clothing ourselves with the complete truth of God is acknowledging that we need to be reminded of basic truths from God's Word because we live in a corrupt culture. Remember that lies and manipulations are nothing more than a house of cards built contrary to the integrity of God Almighty and will come  crashing to the ground when so much as breathed upon by the truth of God's Word no matter how much one tries to protect their masterpiece built upon falsehoods.


James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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