The Tests #1 Do I Speak Truth?

 


The Tests #1 Do I Speak Truth?

Have you ever wondered if you’re saved?  It’s not an uncommon question if you take your faith seriously.  In this new series of teachings, we are going to put our finger on our spiritual pulse.  We are going to do some introspection and see if we pass the test.

The 7 habits of a disciple include studying the scripture, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation.  We will be practicing contemplation in this teaching. Contemplation has been likened to a heart-to-heart talk.  Contemplation is a deep consideration of your spiritual life that allows the Holy Spirit to guide your life allowing you to make the necessary corrections so that you can live a devout and holy life.

“To examine oneself, spiritually, includes an honest look at whether one is truly a believer in Jesus. Along with that, it calls Christians to examine the details and results of their faith, to see if it's according to the truth. It would involve scrutinizing one's own conduct to see how—or if—they follow through on the will of God for their lives.” What does 2 Corinthians 13:5 mean? | BibleRef.com

 2 Corinthians 13:5–6 (NIV)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

 The folks in Corinth must have been a handful.  They were questioning if Paul’s message, his teaching if it was Jesus’ message to His church. Paul writes in verse 3; “since you are looking for proof of Christ speaking in me.” Paul then turns the question back at them.  Examine yourself.  Test yourself.  See for yourself if Christ is in you. This teaching is not to shame or to discover how far you are missing the mark, this teaching is about growing up, growing deep, and growing fruit as a disciple.  If you get convicted, that’s the Holy Spirit pointing out an area of spiritual weakness in your life, getting convicted is your invitation to change.

Five questions comprise this self-test.  The questions are” “Am I Truthful? Am I Honest? Am I Pure? Am I easily offended? Am I selfish?” (E Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p 28). You’ll be encouraged to ask them of yourself and ask them in quiet contemplation with God. 

 “Moral wrongness makes intellectual blindness” (ibid).  Our religion can fool us into thinking we are something we are not.  We are called to live lives of holiness. 

 1 Peter 1:15–16  (NIV)

“…just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

 All too often we have excuses and justifications or blaming for our continued acts of sin.  Sin is anything that deters, damages, or destroys a right relationship. Scripture reveals long lists of behaviors that are considered anti-Christ. The bottom line is egoism.  Egoism is self-centeredness: each one of us decides what is right and what is wrong based on our own whims in a culture that has turned its back on the Creator.  Our default moral choice is to do anything we want to.  God is love, the Spirit of God empowers people to be lovers.  Love is seeking to meet the need of another often at a cost.  Just like Jesus met your greatest need.  That need is forgiveness for those sins, reconciliation with God, empowerment to create and maintain and deepen right relationships with others, and access to living your life to the full which is transformed into being the person God created you to be. Like Jesus, you become willing to sacrifice self for others. 

 It behooves us to do a pretest.  Have you asked God to allow you to become a disciple of Jesus? 

 Consider this progression of thought.  There is a realization that something is not right in your life.  You realize that you are incapable of fixing the problem and the messes in your life.  You realize that you can’t live up to your own standards let alone God’s call to live a holy life.  You wonder how you can remedy your ills, so you go searching for an answer.  God meets the seeking heart even when that person doesn’t know that there is a God (prevenient grace).  In the meeting, whatever form it takes, you are exposed to the gospel.  The gospel is the good news that even though all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of (Romans 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), the gift of God is life through faith in Jesus (Romans 6:23). 

 Faith is believing that God incarnated, becoming the human we know as Jesus.  Jesus reveals to us the heart of God (Colossians 1:15)and reveals to us what it means to be human (Hebrews 4:15). God in Christ takes upon himself the sins of His creation and allows Himself to be executed as a sin offering (John 1:29).  This selflessness created an atonement, that makes it possible for you and I to experience an end to our estrangement from God (1 Peter 3:18), to actually become a new person, one whose life is no longer based on selfishness, now based on love (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

When you become convinced that this gospel is true, you commit to becoming a follower of Jesus.  This commitment is the realization that you need God to survive and thrive, so you are willing to surrender doing life the way you have and learning how to do life the way Jesus demonstrated (Matthew 16:24-26). 

 You’ve acknowledged, you have believed, and you are willing to commit, so you ask.  You simply ask God to enter your life, to take up residence, to make the changes you need to flourish (Acts 2:21).    God answers your sincere request with a yes and puts the Spirit of Christ in you (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 1:22).  It is the Spirit that empowers you to change, to transform, to break negative habits, attachments, and addictions in your life, to empower you to be a lover.

 So, here’s the pretest: Have you asked God to save you?  If you answer no, I encourage you to examine your life.  Do you see yourself in the predicament that the gospel truth can rescue you from?  If not take a wild chance and ask God to convince you that you need His salvation.  If so, right now is a good time to lift a hand to heaven and ask God to rescue you from your dead-end ways of life.  If you do tell others, tell me, I want to encourage you in your new walk with God.

 Having passed the pretest, you are a Christian, which means a follower of Christ. 

The question becomes how good are you at following Jesus?  If Christ is in you, the Holy Spirit is transforming you and empowering you to be a lover (2 Corinthians 3:18).  These changes in you have moral implications. You are expected to change, to become increasingly like Jesus in thought and deeds.  Our test questions are to help you evaluate how you are doing.  Let’s begin the self-examination.

 Am I truthful?  When the Spirit of Truth takes up residence in your soul you speak truth (John 14:16-17; John 15:26; John 16:13).  Ask yourself “are there any conditions under which I will or do tell a lie?  Can I be depended on, to tell the truth, no matter the cost? Yes or No?” (Jones, p. 28).  You can also ask the question this way: “Will I lie?” (Jones. p. 29).

 In our culture, it seems like it's ok to lie, misrepresent, and exaggerate in business, in politics, in media, to protect ourselves or someone else, and to not get involved.  We are “loose with the truth” (Jones, p. 29).  In our culture, it now has become an asset to be able to lie well (ibid).  If not an out-and-out lie, there’s a way to hide the truth through changing the subject, not fully revealing the facts, and not answering the question.

 There are tells when someone is being deceptive.  Lies can easily be detected if you know what to look for. If someone is being vague; offering few details or withholding information they may be lying. An opposite technique is to overload you with information; far too many details.  A stall for time to make up a story by repeating questions before answering is a liar’s technique. Speaking in sentence fragments can be a sign of lying or then again it can just be old age.  Even self-grooming behaviors such as playing with hair or pressing fingers to lips are all subtle indicators of a person that may not be telling you the truth.

 ( https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-tell-if-someone-is-lying-2795917 )

 There a body tells, unconscious physical behaviors that might indicate you are not getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  “Liars tend to use gestures with their hands after they speak as opposed to during or before a conversation.” (https://time.com/5443204/signs-lying-body-language-experts/)  Rocking back and for, staring, or looking away at crucial moments is a giveaway.  When a person is speaking but moving their eyes around, failing to make eye contact, cocking their head to the side, or shuffling their feet can be tells of deception (ibid.). Rolling the lips back to the point where they almost disappear could be a sign someone is lying by omission (ibid.).   When a liar is nervous their voice pitches a little higher, that’s also a stress indicator (ibid.).  Clearing the throat often, perspiration on the upper lip or forehead, and a lot of blinking, squinting, and licking their lips, are telltale signs (ibid.).  If they get defensively louder, they may be lying and there is an autonomic reaction when lying, a person’s completion may get lighter (ibid.).  Real smiles are hard to fake (10 Absolute Giveaways That Someone Is Lying To You (resourcefulmanager.com).  These are some of the ways a person’s body language suggests that they are not truthful.

 Lies are often told formerly.  For instance, “I didn’t do it” becomes “I did not do it.”  “I can’t remember” becomes “I cannot remember.”  Speaking in the third person can be an indication of deception, you get “we” and “our” but not “I” or “my” statements. Liars say things like “Let me be perfectly honest with you.”  “Let me be clear.” “Believe me.” These phrases are to try to convince you that they are being truthful when they are not. A dodging statement can be something like “Do you think I could do that? “  “Don’t you have something better to do with your time than accuse me of this stuff” “How can you doubt me?”  “What? You don’t trust me.”  Such statements are red flags that a person may be dishonest.

(10 Telltale Phrases That Indicate Somebody Isn't Telling the Truth (entrepreneur.com)

Now pathological liars don’t give many tells because lying is their first language (John 8:44). They are so used to lying that it’s natural.  Here’s a hint, go with your gut.  If you feel someone is lying to you, they probably are.

 We’ve gone through these behaviors to show you that a liar may not be as clever in concealing the truth as they think they are. If one person can see through a lie, what do you think God sees.

Psalm 44:21

Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

You may pull one over on someone, but not God.

 Lies and lying are behaviors inconsistent with discipleship (Revelation 21:8).

Proverbs 12:22 (ESV)

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord…

A disciple doesn’t do what God detests.

 The scripture is clear.

Colossians 3:9–10

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

 So disciple, follower of Jesus, born again Christian, the first test question to see if Christ is in you is to ask yourself: “Am I honest?”  Mostly is not a good enough answer.  The One who saved you from a dead-end way of life never lied, not even a white lie, if there is such a thing. As His disciple, you are to follow His lead. You are empowered to follow His lead.

 How good a disciple are you?  Is Christ in you?

 1 John 1:9 (MSG)

“…if we admit our sins - make a clean breast of them - he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.”

 Don’t allow this teaching to get you down, rather use it as a step up.


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