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The LORD hates every liar, but he is the friend of all who can be trusted. Proverbs 12:22 (CEV)

I was a seminary student and out of work. A friend of mine needed some help for a couple days preparing for a trade show and asked if I’d like to fly with him to the show for a couple days to get things prepared. I jumped at the chance to get away for a couple days ‘vacation’ even if it meant work.

Once inChicagohe decided he needed a paint sprayer and went to a local store to purchase one. We used the sprayer to prepare for the show and then, while he stayed at the show I boarded a plane for home.

When he returned the next week I asked how the show went. He chuckled and told me it went fine. Then he said his brand new paint sprayer was stolen and he thinks it was taken by his contact in Chicago, a guy named Joe.

“Joe swore he didn’t take it, but I’m pretty sure it was him since it was under lock and key. Only he and I had access to that room. Then, to top things off he accused you of taking it!” My friend went on, “I told him I knew you wouldn’t take it. I’d trust you with my life!”

I’ve thought about his words on occasion. True friends trust each other with their lives. I hadn’t really done anything to build that kind of trust, I was just honest.

When you build a lifestyle of honesty in every situation you protect yourself from attack. Your lifestyle speaks much louder in your defense than any words you can utter. Jesus says ‘If you can be trusted with little things, God will allow the greater things into your life.’ (Luke 16:10)

Being honest with yourself builds trust with others when you are attacked. It isn’t about doing the big things. It’s about doing what you say you will do. It’s about being honest about your feelings and when those feelings may hurt others, to be graceful and loving in sharing them.

Take the small steps needed on a daily basis to build trust in others. Allow God’s spirit to guide you in your words, actions and thoughts. Building a lifestyle of honesty will protect you from the false accusations that come your way. That way not only will your friends be able to trust you, God himself will be able to trust you with the big things in life.

PRAYER: Father God, when I was growing up I’d always dream of doing something big. Usually those dreams revolved around my own personal desires. Now that I’m older I still desire to do big things, but to do them for you. Empower me with your Spirit to start small by being honest with myself about who I am so that I can build trust in others. In Jesus name, Amen.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

Jesus tells the story of a man who was caught cheating by his employer. As a result of the dishonesty the man was informed that he would lose his job. Before he was fired he went to all the people that owed his boss money and gave them huge discounts. While this further cheated his boss, it made the man many friends. We aren’t told in the story, but no doubt these people were willing to help the dishonest person because he helped them.

The lesson from this story is that honesty isn’t dependent on the amount entrusted but on the sense of responsibility a person has to those who trust him. The man in the story may have been considered generous by those he gave discounts to, but in reality, he wasn’t concerned in the least about their well-being. He was really only concerned about himself.

Our view of ourselves has a huge part to play on whether we are honest or dishonest. Many times we will lie to cover up our own mistakes, choosing to blame others instead of accepting the responsibility. Other times we may lie to make ourselves look better. We don’t want to admit we are weak, so we lie to make ourselves look better than someone else.

Dishonesty at any level destroys our entire reputation. If I lie about a little thing, then I most likely will lie about bigger things as well. On small amount of dirt in a clear glass of water taints the whole glass and makes it undrinkable. In the same way one little lie, on little act of deception tarnishes our entire character.

As Christ-followers each of us is responsible for making sure we are men and women of integrity and trust. There is no place in our lives for any action that has it’s basis on avoiding responsibility for our actions or making others look bad for our own benefit.

Grace teaches us that we are, in some senses, completely helpless to live a life of purity and perfection. There will be times when we fail in our attempt to be honest. There may be times when our actions are misunderstood as being malicious when they are not. Those are the times we can come to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness, and strength to continue on.

Start with the small things. As you learn to trust Him for strength in the small areas of your weakness you will find it easier to tackle the larger areas where you tend to be dishonest. Jesus didn’t come to condemn liars. He came to empower them to be honest.

PRAYER: Father you know that I tend to be dishonest in some of the things I say. I ask that you would forgive me for those times. Empower me by your Spirit to be willing to accept responsibility for my actions. Enable me to be a person of integrity for your sake. Amen.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

 I often wonder what it would have been like to see Jesus during the days He walked on earth as a human being. I imagine that I would most likely have been like many who lived with Him on a daily basis. My human eyes would have been blinded to who He really was. There are so many of the disciples that remind me of myself.

Even so, He must have been an incredible character to watch. Compassionate and understanding enough to kneel before children in order to meet them on their level even though He was the creator God of the universe! But that position of awesome authority and power meant nothing to Him.

To see Him in the crowd, with the throng pressing against Him, yet being so aware of each person that He noticed when the woman who was bleeding (emotionally as well as physically) touched Him. To realize that even today, in the midst of the crowd, He notices my pain, my agony, my incurable condition (sin).

In the midst of unthinkable agony, as parents struggled to find answers when their children were sick or had died, to be able to reach out and with a single touch not only heal the child but heal the wound in the heart and soul of the mom and dad. Even though He himself wasn’t a parent, He had the heart of one.

When the crowd misunderstood Him, and the religious fanatics tried to defame Him. He knew who He was, yet not once did He lash back in anger and hate towards individuals. He always responded with truth and honesty. He was so secure in knowing who He was that the verbal, physical and emotional attacks leveled against Him had no effect. He responded in love.

When His friends never seemed to ‘get it’; when they argued over who was greatest. Imagine that! Playing the ‘I’m better than you’ game in front of the God of the universe! Yet He led them with grace and compassion. When He needed their support the most, they left Him to die alone. Yet His first act after rising from the dead was to make them breakfast.

And still today, when I struggle to obey. When I fall to the temptation to have my own way, to worry about tomorrow, or selfishly ‘stand up for my rights’. He accepts me as I am flaws and all. He forgives. He understands. He encourages. He loves.

Paul writes to the Philippians and to us. He begs us to have that attitude, that mindset that set Jesus apart from the rest. An attitude of love, compassion, forgiveness and security. As Christ-followers we have an opportunity…an obligation as such, to show the world what Jesus was really about. He wasn’t about rules, regulations or religious dogmas. He was about relationship.

PRAYER: My dear Jesus. When I think of how you responded to daily life I’m in awe of your patience, love and compassion. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Empower me with your Holy Spirit so that I may live with the same attitude, the same mindset you did. Help me to live so that others will see Jesus in me. Amen.

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April 2023
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