The temperatures are dropping, even in sunny Arizona. This week I am in Canada for training and would appreciate your prayers. I’ve invited Jean Jones to share with you her journey on conquering lies with God’s truth.
If you missed my free webinar on How Long Should You Keep Trying and How will you Know the Change is Real, you can catch the replay right here – but only for the next 72 hours. Click here to watch it.
How to Conquer Lies with Truth
Jean E. Jones is a co-author of Discovering Joy in Philippians,
Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms.
She blogs at JeanEJones.net.
I grew up believing lies. Adults told me many of them. For instance, when I reported that my father had tried to kill me, my mother shouted, “You’re a horrible person for saying bad things about your father!” Granted, I was mistaken about his intent: a violent temper was the culprit, not murderous goals. But I believed her accusation. Later, my father told me, “You might think you’re all goodie-goodie, but you’re not. You’re whatever I say you are, and I say…” Even into adulthood, I continued to think, “My father said it, so it must be true.” Thankfully, God didn’t leave me stuck in those lies!
Still other lies I told myself, such as that it was okay to fib about a friend who had hurt me. And I acquired false beliefs, including that Jesus couldn’t have anything to do with God.
Much later, I realized that everyone struggles with determining the truth. After all, the media contradict the Bible’s claims about the source of joy by pushing us to pursue happiness in people, possessions, positions, and pleasures. Adherents of false religions or secular philosophies shout to be heard. Spouses, bosses, and friends tell us things about ourselves that sometimes aren’t true. Even those who grow up in Christian homes can conclude that they’re good people and not really sinners like everyone else.
Additionally, crises can cause Christians to question their beliefs about God’s good care.
Why We Struggle with Deceit
Our struggle to distinguish truth from falsehood harkens from more than just living among intentional liars. The prophet Jeremiah explains: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Our hearts deceive us so we can feel good about ourselves. We sin and fall short of expectations. That feels bad, so we tell ourselves things that make us feel better, like justifying ourselves while condemning others. Or, when life is easy, but disaster befalls someone else, we calm our fears with the notion that bad things happen only to people not living right (Job 12:5).
But the Bible tells us that falsehoods are like flimsy, whitewashed walls that promise peace and protection they can’t deliver against life’s storms (Ezekiel 13:8-16).
Thankfully, Jesus gave us the solution: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). He explained that everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin, but he can set people free from it. Instead of relying on deception to believe we’re better than we are, we can turn to Jesus to cleanse us from sin and resurrect us into glorious bodies.
Abiding in Jesus’s words means knowing his words, believing them, and obeying them. Abiding isn’t something we do once, but something we maintain continually. Replacing lies, doubts, and fears with truth take continually immersing ourselves in truth. Click To Tweet
How do we do that? Here’s a tool to help you abide in Jesus’s words and defeat deceptions.
The Truth Journal
A truth journal helps you abide in Jesus’s words so that you can know—really know—freeing truth. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper on which you journal truths. That’s what my husband used when, as a teenager, he feared losing salvation.
I often want more room than a single sheet can fit, though. Consequently, I set aside space in a journal. I tag the first page of the section with a Post-it Note so I can turn to it quickly.
Here’s how you can create a truth journal.
List the scriptures that tell you the truth about the lie you want to defeat. Also, write out Scriptures that tell you how God wants you to act. Number them so you’ll find encouragement in how many truths stand against a lie.
For example, when a crisis showed my childhood beliefs about my parents’ judgments still affected me, I wrote this in my journal:
Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts. Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment. The worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.
This assured me that the righteousness that God gave me was eternal and couldn’t be destroyed by people’s fading false accusations.
Write Truth Statements
Next, write down what the verses you copied tell you about your situation. Number them too. Also, write down how you will obey any commands. Here’s one of the truth statements I wrote in my journal:
It is okay to speak the truth about a person who is wicked or weak or ignorant—it is okay & right to think the truth about these people.
Complete “Think on These” Thoughts
Philippians 4:8 reads, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” So the next thing to go in the truth journal is a list of what to think about your situation.
For instance, here’s what I wrote in Discovering Joy in Philippians about abusive situations:
What is true is God sees all, what is noble is praying for the wrongdoer’s salvation, what is right is forgiving as God has forgiven me, what is pure is refusing revenge, what is lovely is Jesus’s compassion for victims, what is admirable is helping others through similar situations, what is excellent is we cannot lose anything of eternal value, what is praiseworthy is our resurrected bodies will have neither sinned nor been sinned against.
In the book, I give examples of many situations, but you can see a general idea here.
Record a Prayer
Finally, write a prayer of trust and hope in God. Describe your troubles and fears, put your trust in God, ask for help, and praise God for his good care. Having a written prayer that you can turn to daily during a crisis can calm your heart with peace even as it helps you place your hope in God.
When you’ve created your truth journal, turn to it anytime falsehoods, doubts, or fears assail you. Read through your list until you find the truth that calms you.
Abiding in Jesus’s words leads to knowing freeing truth. Use your truth journal to help you abide in Jesus’s words.
Friends, what truths have freed you from lies in your life?
Jean E. Jones is a co-author of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament, Discovering Joy in Philippians, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms. She is a member of Women in Apologetics, an organization that helps women answer objections to faith. Jean has published on Crosswalk.com and in Today’s Christian Woman and Home Life. She’s happily married to her high school sweetheart, Clay, an associate professor of Christian apologetics at Talbot Seminary. They live in Laguna Niguel, California, and once were foster parents to three preteen/teen girls. Jean loves trying new foods and enjoyed rooster claws and century eggs in Asia.
Connect with Jean on her blog at www.JeanEJones.net and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.