Let’s Rethink the Way We Look at Honesty

Let's Rethink The Way We Look At Honesty

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  -John 8:32

Dishonesty is a defense mechanism, at least it is in today’s culture.  People lie all the time to get out of trouble, clear their name, or even make money; and that’s acceptable.  If you have to lie to protect yourself, surely no one will hold it against you.  I think this especially applies to the politicians and celebrities of today’s world.

Honesty, on the other hand, isn’t such a virtue today.  Sometimes honesty is viewed as a vulnerability.  When you are completely honest, you look weak.  Your flaws and insecurities are exposed, and that’s not acceptable.  Even when you have only good things to share with the world, honesty can sometimes be considered annoying.  When you’re a Christian, people might not want your honesty at all.

Shouldn’t we do a double take about now?  There is a truth that is meant to set us free, but this doesn’t seem like freedom at all.  Lying is second nature to many, but maybe just telling the truth can move us towards freedom.

I think it’s about time we rethink the way we look at honesty.

Being Honest With Yourself

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”  -Jeremiah 17:9

Wouldn’t it make sense that we have the ability to understand our hearts?  I mean, it’s not like anybody else can tell us our own thoughts and feelings.  For whatever emotion we are experiencing, there must be some reason for it.  But have you ever wanted something that you know is bad for you?  This is what Jeremiah 17:9 is talking about: our hearts deceive us.  They make us think we need something in our lives that would hurt us to pursue; like money, fame, success, relationships, respect.  Our heart makes us think that we are entitled to these things, and though these things are not evil in themselves, you could waste a lifetime of energy on pursuing your hearts desires.

Oh, but shouldn’t we follow our hearts?

Well, perhaps.  But, that doesn’t mean you should follow your every whim.  Our hearts are a major way that God communicates with us, so pray that He would live inside yours.  In truth, it is the unguarded heart that will trip you up, so make sure you are always praying that God would live in your heart to protect you from it.

Being Honest With Others

“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.”  -Colossians 3:9-10

If you are a Christian, that means you’re a Christ-follower, but it’s more than that.  Christians are meant to be people who strive to be like Christ.  And of course, we know that Jesus always told the truth.  That is what the Bible is built on; telling us the truth.  There are a lot of lies that people tell us in this world, but the Bible is the one thing we can rely on to always speak the truth into our lives.

We, as Christians, should be doing the same for others.  Whether or not the people you encounter on a daily basis are Christians, you should always strive to be honest with them.  Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and make yourself vulnerable.  Tell your story; God has done amazing things for you, and it would be lying to say that you haven’t been changed by Him.

Being Honest With God

“Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place.  Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men)”  -1 Kings 8:39

This seems kind of silly to say, but you can lie to God too.  Of course God knows every part of you, so it seems like lying to him wouldn’t be an issue, but when you aren’t honest with God, it means that you aren’t putting all your trust in Him.

Sometimes I’ve lied to God when I’ve said I’m ok.  I’ve found myself wanting to pray about something that’s bothering me, but then I don’t because I realize that there are some people who have it so much worse than I do.  However, God cares about all of our little problems that we face in life.  By refusing to pray about something that’s bothering me, I’m basically saying “Never mind God, I’ll handle this one!”  That’s certainly not what He wants, and I probably can’t take care of myself as well as he can.

I just realized this today, but the root of the word “honesty” is honor.  I’m sure this means more than just telling the truth.  If God desires us to be honest, then having a truthful attitude brings God glory.  It think this verse sums it up nicely.

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  -John 12:16

Honesty is more of a matter of the heart than about whether or not what you say is truthful.  So, do a double take, reconfigure your code of honor, and don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

Much love,

Delaney

6 Verses to Combat Worry

I think it is my best kept secret that genuinely I get really worried sometimes.  I like to be the one person that stays cool when everyone else loses their heads, but I have certainly have my moments of gripping panic.  In the midst of a normal day, I will suddenly get suffocating thoughts about who-knows-what.  Can you relate?

-managing money

-time budgeting

-keeping my grades up

-reputation and success in general

-friends and family

-am I good enough?

In these moments, it’s important to turn to God.  That’s what he asks us to do actually, it’s a huge exercise in faith, but it is such a relief to know that the creator of the universe wants to take care of our problems.

worry

 

Some of these are a bit longer than a single verse, but that’s because they’re important!  They are also all out of the NIV.  Let’s dive in!

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.”

I love this.  This verse straight-up tells us that we don’t have all the answers to solve our problems.  So don’t put that pressure on yourself!  As long as you follow God, he will take care of the things you worry about.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Wow.  “Peace that transcends all understanding.”  Can you even imagine what that’s like?  And of course, our hearts and minds are where most of our worries lie.  Do you ever worry about something and then realize you were just over thinking it?  (#me)  Well, that peace of God will guard our hearts and minds from exactly that.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

There are a lot of things in this world that claim to offer us comfort.  Money, health, relationships- and even though these things aren’t bad, they cannot give us the peace that God is offering.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that reaching you next worldly goal is the key to being happy, and drop the worry that comes with it.

Proverbs 16:3

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

This is something I clung to when I was searching for the right college.  Talk about worry there!  In truth, it doesn’t matter so much what you do and where you go as long as you commit yourself to God.  You will surely be a success to Him.

Psalm 55:22

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall.”

This is definitely the source of Finding Favour‘s song “Cast my Cares”, which I love!  If you haven’t heard it, listen to it!  Both this verse and that song give us a strong message about how we should handle our worries.  Actually, God wants us to give Him our worries, that’s how he sustains us.  It is not always easy to let God handle your worries, but if worry is something you struggle with, use it as a tool to draw closer to God rather than letting it drag you down.

Matthew 6:25-34

Ok, this one is obviously a lot more than a verse or two, but it’s honestly so good!  Please pick up your Bible and read it right now.  This passage contains my favorite verse of all time, which I thought need a bit more of a presentation.

Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than they? -Matthew 6:26

Are you not more important than they?

My friends, there is an all-powerful God that cares enough about the insignificant little birds to feed them.  Do you really think he would neglect those who He’s created in His own image?  This passage does a great job of putting that into perspective, I’d even say it makes whatever worry we have look silly and small.

Worry is not fun.  It’s not.  I’d say it is one of the most miserable things we can experience as humans.  So why hang on to it?  Here we have the all-powerful God asking us to surrender our worry to him, won’t you take him up on this?  I’m not going to lie, it takes practice to surrender your worry, and there is always room for improvement.  But combating the worry in your life has long-lasting benefits.  No matter what, God always wants the best for you, so take a stand against worry.

Can Reading the Bible Help You Become a Better Student?

can reading the bible help you become a better student?

College is of course stressful and time-consuming, it may not always seem convenient to get into the Word, however this might be exactly what you need to make it through the semester.  Let me tell you a little story…

At the beginning of this year, I really started to take reading my Bible seriously.  I’m sure we’re all aware that there is a difference between just reading a passage from the Bible, and actually READING it.  I suddenly found myself getting a lot more out of my daily devotions, and I was searching for more ways to get the most out of reading the Bible.  I had a complete change of heart on this matter, and I found that it began to affect my not only my heart, but my mind too.  As it turns out, a lot of the skills you learn while reading the Bible can help you become a better reader overall!

I first noticed that something had changed when I had to read a segment of The Poetics by Aristotle for a class.  ( I actually didn’t realize that I only had to read a segment and I started reading the whole thing, oops.)  I don’t know if you’ve ever had to read any Aristotle before, but let me tell you, it is boring.  Talk about a long-winded old man!  However, I realized that my mind was alert and I was actually taking in the text I was reading!  This is something I know would have been very difficult for me to read only a couple of months ago, but I was actually have a pretty easy time with it.  Ever since then, I’ve noticed my increased reading skills with other textbooks, articles, and class materials.  I’ve even had more enjoyment my reading personal books and blogs.

So what changed?  I knew that I had been making an effort get more out of reading my Bible, but I had no idea I would be getting more out of everything I read!  This semester I have found that I am an overall better student, and preparing for my classes takes less effort.  This is one advantage to reading the Bible that I never expected, but I guess that just shows how God is looking out for us!

Here are some of the things that really helped me when I decided to study the Bible more in-depth:

1)  Reading a study Bible

The Bible that I read every day has a sample of commentary of nearly every verse, which I almost always read for the assigned text in my daily devotions.  Understanding the meaning behind what the author wrote can be just as important as the actual text.  It gives you further grounding knowledge that helps keep the information in your brain.  The study-commentary also helps you out when you’re really confused by a passage, which happens to everybody now and then!

2)  Take your time

Reading the Bible more about quality that quantity, meaning, your goal shouldn’t be to read as many verses as you can.  It’s certainly not a race either.  When you find something you don’t understand (and you absolutely will) slow down and really make an effort to connect with the passage before you move on.  Try to find a way that this passage connects with your life- there is always something to learn from the Bible!

3)  Pray before you begin reading

Actually, this one should be the first one you do.  If reading the Bible is something you’re doing to get closer to God, it’s important to invite him into your personal study time.  Ask that your heart would be opened to His Word, and that your mind would be cleared of all the days worries.  This is especially important to maintaining concentration while you are reading.

I hope that this was helpful to you, and that you will share the same benefits that I am experiencing, and much more!  I’d also love to hear about any other tips you have for reading the Bible.  Remember, even though you will graduate from college, as Christians we will always be students. 🙂