Guard Your Lips from Telling Lies
When I was a young child, my parents bought a number of Scripture in Song music tapes distributed by Scripture in Song recordings Ltd. in New Zealand. These songs were taken straight from Scripture and recorded by David and Dale Garratt of New Zealand. We used to play and sing their music often in our home. They helped to instruct us as children in the right ways of living according to the word of the Lord and brought God’s presence both into our hearts and into our home. One of the songs I clearly remember learning was taken straight out of 1 Peter 3:10 (TLB). “If you want a happy, good life, keep control of your tongue, and guard your lips from telling lies, and guard your lips from telling lies, and guard your lips from telling lies, if you want a happy good life.” That particular song had made such an impact on my young life, because as a young child and for a period of time, I had been having great difficulty in the area of lying. It was a sin that had become progressively worse over a period of time.
For after telling one lie, I soon discovered that when questioned, I had to tell another lie in order to hide, or to cover the first one. What was as simplistic as one lie, turned into another and then another as I fought to hide the truth. Clearly, I was not having a happy good life! The KJV version of the Bible translates the same Scripture in this way: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Peter 3:10, KJV). The word ‘guile’ here is translated ‘deceit’ in the Hebrew. (See Strong’s Concordance).
What Does it Profit a Man if He Loses His Own Soul?
It was only after my mother took me aside one day to ask why I had been lying, and told me to ask the Lord about it, that I began to get to grips with the whole issue of pride that had developed in my own heart. I had been trying to save myself! Because I was frightened of being told off if I confessed the truth about the wrong things that I had done, I lied in order to cover my tracks. Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
It was only after this truth was revealed to me, that I was able to stop this habit of lying. My heart knew that what I had been doing was very displeasing to God, yet I had to be willing to release my heart to the Lord. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus had already come willingly to take all of my sin on my behalf. All I had to do as a believer in Christ, was to confess my sins and to receive His complete forgiveness for all that I had done wrong. This area of sinning is far removed from me now! Praise God! The Apostle John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
All Have Sinned and Fallen Short of His Glory
The prophet Isaiah spoke well of the commonality of man’s sin when he prophesied of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross, which He willingly undertook on our behalf, saying, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked – But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth“ (Isaiah 53:6-9, NKJV).
The Apostle Paul also, quoting from Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 14:1-3; and Psalm 53:1-3; testified, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10-12). Again, Paul said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We are all desperately in need of a saviour — for we cannot save ourselves!
Many Will Suffer for the Sake of Christ
The writer of Ecclesiastes, believed to have been King Solomon, said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven……….A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (See Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Jesus showed us by His example, that there are times that God asks us to speak – and it is then that we must speak. But there are also times that for the sake of the Gospel, that like Christ, Who at the time of His crucifixion ‘opened not His mouth’; it is far better for us to say nothing at all, than to speak a ‘half-truth’ (telling only part of the story) or to tell a blatant lie. There are many more important things in life than winning an argument or ‘being right.’ One day men will be held accountable for every idle word that they speak. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36 & 37).
There will be many times also, when following Christ, that we, too, will be defamed or have our character put to the test to suffer for the sake of Christ. Jesus, Who never lied, because it is impossible for God to lie; “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent” (Numbers 23:19); warned His disciples before He went to the cross, that He would suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and again, He forewarned His disciples concerning themselves: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:24-27, NKJV).
The word ‘works’ used in this verse above, also refers to the works, or the acts of the apostles. It is translated ‘praxis’ in the Greek, meaning ‘practice’; i.e. (concretely) ‘an act’; by extension, ‘a function’; —‘deed’; ‘office’; or ‘work’. (Strong’s Concordance). For despite the many miracles performed by Christ and by His apostles in the name of Christ, as a sign that the Kingdom of God had come, there were many who came to oppose them.
Shoulder the Burden of Christ
Just recently, when I was facing a difficult situation with someone I loved, the Lord spoke to me at this time, saying, “Shoulder the burden of Christ.” When I asked the Lord as to what this meant, He replied, “He reviled not!” The Apostle Peter explains, “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’ (Quoting from Isaiah 53:9); Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously’” (1 Peter 2: 20-23, NKJV).
To ‘revile’ someone, means ‘to criticise’ or ‘to heap abuse upon’ them (see Strongs Concordance). The Lord was basically saying to me at this time, “This is not your battle to fight.” “Hold your tongue”; “keep your peace.” In other words, “Say nothing at all and let Me deal with the people concerned.” For it is God Who sees each one of our hearts and Who intimately knows each one of our needs. It is He Who will speak on our behalf and Who will reward each one of us according to our deeds. For this reason, it is so very important to keep our hearts right with both God and with others. The Scripture in 1 Peter 3 continues, “Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled’” (1 Peter 3:11-14, NKJV).
The passage “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled”, was quoted from the book of Isaiah who prophesied regarding the house of Israel saying, “For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: ‘Do not say, A conspiracy, concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken’” (Isaiah 8:11-15).
We are to Speak What He Gives Us to Speak
The prophet Isaiah had taken a righteous stance in what was a very difficult situation, where a backslidden people, the people of Israel, had hardened their hearts to the word of the Lord and had refused to obey His commands as spoken through this prophet of Israel. Speaking of those who labour in Christ, the apostle Peter exhorts, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:15-17, NKJV).
Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, we thank You for all that You have done for us. We thank You that we do not have to be afraid to speak the truth at all times. We ask for Your wisdom to show us when to stay silent and when we are to speak. We ask You to anoint both our lives and our lips, that both our lives and the words of our mouths may be an accurate representation of the Gospel of truth. Help us to understand the way that Your Kingdom works and the way that You work through us as Your people. Give us Your heart for the Salvation of many throughout the nations and for Your Kingdom’s purposes to be fulfilled. Give us hearts that will trust in the fulfilment of Your word and in the words that You speak to us and through us as Your people. We ask this in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen”.