Honesty, Still the Best Policy

Posted on Sunday, Feb 9, 2020 by Faith

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Weekly Overview:

Honesty is more than the words we say. It’s a posture of the heart. We weren’t made to try and be something we’re not. God never asks us to keep up appearances. He longs for us to have the courage to be vulnerable. He longs for us to be so founded in his unconditional love that we live honestly. May you experience new levels of peace and joy this week as we discover God’s heart for honesty. 

Day 8 - Honesty is the Foundation

"Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit." Peter 3:10

Deciding to live openly and honestly is foundational to experiencing fullness of life in God. God doesn’t deal with our facades. He doesn’t speak to, love on, heal, deliver, or empower the fake self we try and portray. Rather, he faithfully pursues who we really are, drawing us out from the walls we’ve built up around our hearts. 

 

1 Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” When the Bible talks about honesty, it isn’t just talking about God’s heart for us not to speak lies, but also that we wouldn’t believe or live out lies. In living honestly we will love life and see good days. Nothing good comes from being dishonest. There is no life in trying to appear as something we’re not. Abundant life comes with communion with God, and God always meets us where we’re at. 

 

Assess your life today. Are you living honestly? Are you trying to portray yourself as something you’re not? Are you deceiving yourself or looking at yourself honestly? Are you coming before God just as you are or trying to appear like you have everything together? 

 

Honesty is at the foundation of encountering God, loving others, experiencing abundant life, and doing good, eternal works. Everything God does is about the heart. He’s about that which has substance, that which is real. He’s not calling you to share your “picture-perfect” life with others. He’s calling you to be vulnerable with others that they would see the unconditional, grace-filled nature of relationship with God. He’s not asking you to clean yourself up before you worship him or meet with him. He’s asking you to come as you are that he might reveal the love he already has for you, even in your imperfections. 

 

Take time to make honesty a core value in your life. Reflect on the importance of being open and vulnerable. Allow the Spirit to illuminate any ways in which you are valuing appearance above reality. And choose today to be who you truly are. May you find new peace and joy today as you remove the pressure of appearance.

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Meditate on the importance of honesty. May Scripture help you make honesty a core value. 

 

“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” 1 Peter 3:10

 

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

 

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.” James 1:26

 

2. Assess your heart. In what ways do you value appearance above reality? Where are you working to try and appear as something you’re not. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate any ways in which you need to live more honestly. 

 

3. Ask God to reveal his love for you even in your imperfections. Allow his love to fill you with the courage to be honest today. Rest in his unconditional love for you. 

 

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 

The only confidence available to us to live honestly is the unconditional love of God. Christ died for you while you were in your sin. He gave his life just to have relationship with you just as you are. Choose to receive his love. Choose to value his opinion over others’ opinions. Let his love be your source over the fickle affections of people. May you find courage to be yourself today and thereby experience true freedom in your heart. 

 

Extended Reading: 1 Peter 3

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 9 - Facade

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

The greatest testimony you could possibly give is to have the audacity to live honestly. It takes courage to be yourself. It takes security in the unconditional love of your heavenly Father to acknowledge not just your strengths and successes, but also your weaknesses and failures. But in doing so your life will proclaim the powerful, beautiful work of God. And in doing so you will experience the peace and joy only freedom from building a facade can produce. 

 

A facade is “an outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.” So often, to cover up what we know to be imperfect we devote ourselves to creating a false picture for others. We even devote so much energy to building a facade that we try and deceive ourselves. We muster up our pride and look only at what we’ve done well, all the while ignoring what we need help with. As a result, we spend all our time living a life apart from reality. And to live apart from reality is to live apart from the grace and love of our ever-present, wholly real Father. 

 

In Matthew 23:27, Jesus passionately rebukes those who try and build facades: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” God solely cares about the heart. He’s not worried about perception. He’s not worried about status or societal acceptance. He cares about what is real. He knows that any energy spent devoted to building a facade is energy you can’t devote to receiving help, healing, and grace for what’s real and important. He knows that all your efforts to be accepted aren’t of value because the opinions of others are nothing in comparison to his unconditional love for you. And he knows that ultimately all facades will be torn down, and we will be seen and known by him for who we truly are.

 

God longs for you to live fully known and fully loved. He longs for you to live out a revelation of his love and grace rather than striving for affection and acceptance by building up facades. Take time to experience his love and grace today. Assess your heart and tear down your walls. May freedom burst forth in your life today as you proclaim the glory of God’s grace by being who you really are. 

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Reflect on the importance of living in reality. Allow Jesus’ words to stir up your desire to tear down any facade you’ve built up. 

 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

 

2. Where are you striving for acceptance or affection by building up facades? Where are you portraying yourself to be something you aren’t? Why are you doing it? 

 

3. Ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to be yourself today. Tell others of your weaknesses today. Don’t be afraid to be yourself with all your strengths, successes, weaknesses, and failures. 

 

May God’s grace and love empower you today as you live honestly. May you stop devoting your energy to appearances and give yourself to what’s real. And in doing so may you encounter the unconditional acceptance and affection of your loving Father. 

 

Extended Reading: Matthew 23

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 10 - Tearing Down Walls

“I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Acts 24:16

In order to protect our hearts from the pain and wounds of the world we both consciously and subconsciously build walls. These walls take all sorts of forms. Some walls are built for appearance so that outward beauty covers up inward brokenness. Some walls are built to be strong and tough so that pride and strength cover up inward vulnerability and self-consciousness. Some walls are built in order to blend in so that people pass us by altogether and never try to know us. Whatever wall we choose to build, one thing's for certain: the walls might guard us from harm, but they also keep us from ever experiencing true life. 

 

Abundant life comes from being both fully known and then fully loved. We can’t experience the love of God and others if we don’t allow ourselves to be known. We can’t experience God’s grace and affection for us if we shield ourselves from him out of fear that he will see us and reject us. And whenever someone tries to love us fully we will always reject their love by saying, “If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t love me.”  Living with walls up isn’t really living; it’s surviving. 

 

God knows our pains. He knows our wounds. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” God is for you. He longs to be near to you and save you. But in order for you to experience the fullness of his love and healing you have to let him in. And in order for you to experience true life you have to stop trusting in your walls to protect you and start trusting in the powerful, capable hands of your loving Father. 

 

In Psalm 57:7 David writes, “My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident” (NLT). God is the one who protects our hearts. There is nothing we can do to fully shield ourselves from the wounds this world causes except allow our hearts to be fully open to God. Only in God can we have confidence. Only in God can we trust. And only in God will we experience true, abundant life. 

 

Take time today to tear down your walls brick by brick. Stop placing your hope in that which can’t ever truly protect you. And look to God as your great protector that you might be fully known and fully loved today. May your time of guided prayer be marked by freedom and deliverance in the Holy Spirit. 

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Meditate on the importance of living without walls up. 

 

“I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Acts 24:16

 

2. Where do you place your hope for protection? What walls have you built that you might not be truly known? In what ways are you guarding yourself? 

 

3. Confess to God any places you’ve given your trust, and place your hope for protection in him alone. Journal about any walls you’ve built up and respond to God’s promise of nearness and healing by giving him your heart. 

 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

 

“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident” Psalm 57:7 (NLT)

 

It’s important to take note when you begin to build walls around your heart. Run to God when you feel insecure. Rather than building up walls that have to be torn down again, seek to live openly and honestly. May you feel God’s hand of protection around your heart today. 

 

Extended Reading: Psalm 57

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 11 - Fully Known

“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3

While we absolutely serve an all-knowing, omnipotent, omnipresent God, there is a stark difference between God’s knowledge of everything and allowing ourselves to be known by him. To be known by God is a two-way street. It’s a conscious decision to open our hearts to this all-knowing God that we might experience him in even the deepest, most secret places of our lives. Galatians 4:8-9 says,

 

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 

 

Being known by God is the birthplace of freedom. When we allow our Creator and Savior to truly know us he brings with him all his power, love, and deliverance. Only when we allow him to know the wounds of our past do we position ourselves to receive his healing. Only when we discover that he cries, mourns, laughs, and celebrates with us will our hearts be founded on the reality of true relationship with him. 

 

Your God doesn’t just want to teach you, lead you, empower you, or use you—he wants to know you. You don’t have to go through this life on your own. You don’t have to process decisions, pains, relationships, or doubts on your own. You can be known by your Creator and know him. Unhindered relationship with your perfect, loving Father can be your source. 

 

It is entirely possible to go through this life as a believer without letting God fully know you. As tragic as it may be, many Christians do it every day. We live as if God is distant from us. We live as if we don’t have full access to his heart, will, love, and presence in the Holy Spirit. We live as if all Christ came to do was give us a “get out of Hell free card” rather than restore us to right relationship with the Father. And when you live fully known by God you will experience a love more sure, more real, and more transcendent than any love you’ve experienced. 

 

Take time as you enter into guided prayer to truly let God know you. Open up the secret places of your heart. Tell him about your insecurities, fears, doubts, and wounds. May you find a deeper level of intimacy with your loving Father than you thought possible. 

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Meditate on the importance of being known by God. 

 

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” Galatians 4:8-9 

 

“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3

 

2. Are you living your life known? Or are you hiding pieces of your life from your heavenly Father? 

 

3. Tell God about anything in your life that’s stayed in the dark. Bring it to the light with him. Allow him to fully know you. And experience powerful freedom as he reveals the depths of his love for you. 

 

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

 

Ephesians 5:8 says, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” You can live with confidence and joy today. When you are fully known by God and still fully accepted and loved, your heart is unshakable. God will not reject you. He has loved you at your worst. Trust in him today and experience life in the light of his presence. 

 

Extended Reading: 1 Corinthians 13

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 12 - Fully Loved

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” Isaiah 54:10

The ultimate result of honesty—the reason for being fully known—is that we might be fully loved. You weren’t made to live without a continuous, total revelation of God’s love for you. His love is the foundation. It’s the reason for being. Without his love we have nothing. And without honesty we’ll never fully experience his vast wealth of affection for us. 

 

Isaiah 54:10 is God’s promise for you and me today. He says to us, “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” The question today is not whether God loves us. And the question is not whether we have the ability to experience his love. Scripture commands us in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” The question is whether we’re receiving the love already made available to us. 

 

You see, unless we come before God fully honest we only present part of ourselves for him to love. Unless we let him in to every area of our lives, we’ll live with a separated notion of God’s love. Most of us know that he loves us when we worship. We know he loves us when we serve. We’ve experienced his love when we engage in community, read Scripture, and pray. But do we know he loves us when we fail? Do we know he loves us when we say the wrong thing, doubt him, miss an opportunity to share the gospel, or run away from him? 

 

God doesn’t just love us part of the time. He doesn’t just love us when we succeed. His love is complete and transcendent of us. He is love. He loves all the time. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God has loved you at your worst. If he loved you enough to die for you while you were without one ounce of good, he will love you now. 

 

If you want to experience the full depth of God’s love for you, you must come to him fully. You must let him in to every part of your day. You must let him in to your past, your present, and your future. You must live out of a revelation of his unconditional love for you rather than living a works-based relationship with him.

 

May you encounter the fullness of God’s love for you today as you enter into guided prayer. And may his love for you draw you deeper into the unhindered communion that’s already available to you.  

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Meditate on the unconditional nature of God’s love. Allow Scripture to paint the picture of who God is rather than our limited, worldly perspective. 

 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

 

2. Come before God and be fully known. Open every part of your heart to him. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how God wants to love you today. Journal his response. 

 

“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:3

 

3. Take some time to simply receive and rest in God’s love. Experience the unconditional nature of his love. Let his love lead you to a life founded on grace rather than works. 

 

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 

To live by grace is to choose to believe God at his word. It’s choosing to live based on Scripture over everything we’ve known from the world. Grace isn’t found here. It’s a product of heaven alone. But God has ransomed us from a life based on the ways of the world. We belong to heaven now. And we have so much more available to us than the world offers. We are totally and fully loved regardless of our weaknesses and failures. May you live out of a revelation of grace and receive God’s love in every part of your day. 

 

Extended Reading: Romans 8

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 13 - Freedom in the Light

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

The imagery of light and darkness is used throughout Scripture as a metaphor for freedom and sin, and God and that which is without God. Jesus consistently refers to himself as the light. In reference to Jesus, Matthew 4:16 says, “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” Scripture also refers to us as the light in Ephesians 5:8 saying, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” And in John 3:19-21, Jesus describes a freedom that comes from bringing ourselves to the light:

 

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

 

One of the worst effects of sin is the shame it brings that causes us to hide from God and others. Adam and Eve hid from God because of the shame of the first sin. And still today, even though Christ has paid the price for every sin we could ever commit, we hide ourselves from God.

 

God longs for us to run to him when we make a mistake. He’s the father in the prodigal son story whose arms are eternally extended to us no matter what we’ve done. He longs to embrace us, restore us, and free us in his eternal embrace. He longs for us to step out of our shame, bring ourselves fully into his light, and be delivered from the destructive effects of our sin. 

 

In Isaiah 42:16 God says, “I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Nothing you could do could cause your God to forsake you. He’s not surprised by your sin. He knows you are dust. But he longs to embrace you in your weakness. He longs to free you from the power of darkness. You don’t have to hide from him. You can come before your God honestly and live as a child of the light (Ephesians 5:8). You can experience true freedom as your sin is forgiven and times of refreshing come (Acts 3:19-20). 

 

Take time as you enter into guided prayer to bring that which has caused you shame into the light. May you find freedom today as God reveals to you the power of his forgiveness and grace. 

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Reflect on what Scripture says about light and darkness. Allow God’s word to stir up your desire to bring yourself fully to the light.

 

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8

 

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

 

2. What do you need to bring to the light? What is causing you shame? 

 

3. Bring yourself to the light. Ask God how he feels about that which is causing you shame. Take time to receive his forgiveness and grace and rest in his love. 

 

1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” When you commit yourself to walk with God throughout your day, he will guide you to the light. Jesus’ blood is powerful enough to cleanse you from the inside out. There is freedom when your heart is totally and completely his. May you be set free from shame and darkness today as you live openly and honestly before the Lord your God. 

 

Extended Reading: John 3

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

Day 14 - Living Honestly

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.”James 1:26

There is no substitute for the peace and joy of living honestly. When you find courage from the unconditional love of your heavenly Father to truly be yourself, you alleviate yourself of the pressure and stress of keeping up appearances. And when you’re free from keeping up appearances you have time and energy to devote to that which is real—that which is eternal. 

 

James 1:26 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.” Did you know you were capable of deceiving your own heart? James makes an incredibly strong statement here. How could my religion be worthless if I simply tell a small lie here or there? How could a little deception in my heart make my religion null and void? 

 

This verse illustrates just how important our hearts are to God. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Your religion is only as valuable as it is true. The parts of you that are outward, e.g., your words, actions, and appearance, are only as valuable as they are a true reflection of your heart. 

 

James is speaking here to those who think that what they say and do defines them. He’s speaking to those who believe their value and identity are wrapped up in their good works. But God flips our worldly paradigm on its head. He values actions done from the heart. He values appearances that are a reflection of the beauty in our hearts. He values words that come from a place of deep honesty and vulnerability. He values religion that is the fruit of his Spirit loving, leading, and filling our spirits. 

 

As we close out this week on honesty, take time to truly assess whether you’re deceiving your own heart. Are you looking to that which is outward to define you? Do you see yourself related to what you do, or are your actions the result of who you are in Christ? May your time be filled with the loving-kindness of your heavenly Father and clear revelation from the Holy Spirit. 

 

Guided Prayer:

 

1. Meditate on what Scripture says about living honestly. 

 

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.” James 1:26

 

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

 

2. Are you looking to that which is outward to define you? Do you see yourself related to what you do, or are your actions the result of who you are in Christ?

 

3. Take time to receive revelation of how God sees you. Let him show you how deeply he values who you already are. Let him reveal his grace and loving-kindness to you. Take time to rest in a fresh revelation of his love and grace. 

 

To live honestly is to value what God values. Only in consistently encountering God’s value of the heart can we begin to live out of who we are rather than working to become who we feel we should be. Only in seeing ourselves as God does will we value the wonderful identity we have as his sons and daughters. May your life be forever changed as you value honesty above appearance. May you find freedom and rest in the unchanging affections of your heavenly Father. 

 

Extended Reading: James 1

 

Article reposted from permission from First15

First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.

 

 

 

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