“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
Deception and dishonesty began in the garden. Caught out with the apple, Eve said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” Genesis 3:13. The serpent encouraged her to believe a lie, but she accepted his version. In his version, she wouldn’t die; she’d become wise. Wouldn’t the honest response be: “Yes, I sinned. I knew the serpent was wrong.”
Jeremiah describes our dishonesty:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Like Mother Eve, we are endlessly self-deceptive. Confronted with our failures, we say, or at least think, “What, me? You’re saying I’m self-centered?” “I don’t listen?” “You think I’m arrogant?” Self-deception is our default mode.
Only one can break through:
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
Only the Father can penetrate our self-deception. Only he convicts. When we suddenly recognize our sin, thanking him is the only wise response.
Even wiser is an everyday prayer: “Father, where am I being dishonest with myself?” or “Lord Jesus, purify my heart.” or “Search me and try me. Expose my sin that I might not cause pain.”
We begin with honesty–truthfulness, free from deception. When we’re honest with ourselves, we know there’s always more to be exposed, forgiven, and healed. Confession, then, agrees with God about our sin. From honesty and confession comes cleansing:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9
I’d ask where you are deceiving yourself, but how would you know? Come, Spirit of Jesus who proceeds from the Father. Expose our sin, cleanse us from our unrighteousness and draw us into your heart, where all goodness dwells.