Updated: Mar 26, 2019
We live in an age of “relative honesty” in which people formulate their own standards of honesty which change with the circumstances. The Bible speaks of a similar time which was a turbulent period in Israel’s history. “Everyone did whatever he wanted to—whatever seemed right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, TLB ).
Relative honesty contrasts sharply with the standard we find in Scripture. God demands absolute honesty. Proverbs 20:23 reads, “The Lord loathes all cheating and dishonesty” (TLB). And Proverbs 12:22 states, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Leviticus 19:11 says, “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”
Truthfulness is one of God’s attributes. “I am . . . the truth” (John 14:6). Moreover, He commands us to reflect His honest and holy character. “Be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
God’s nature is in stark contrast to Satan’s nature. John 8:44 describes the devil’s character: “[The devil] . . . does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” The Lord wants us to become conformed to His honest character rather than to the dishonest nature of the devil.
Why Does God Demand Absolute Honesty?
God has imposed the standard of absolute honesty for five reasons.
We cannot practice dishonesty and love God.
We cannot practice dishonesty and love our neighbor.
Honesty creates credibility for evangelism.
Honesty confirms God’s direction.
Even the small act of dishonesty is devastating.
The people of God must be honest in even the smallest, seemingly inconsequential matters.
How Do We Escape the Temptation of Dishonesty?
Unless we deny ourselves and live our lives yielded to the Holy Spirit, all of us will be dishonest. “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16, NIV). The desire of our human nature is to act dishonestly. “Out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts . . . theft . . . deceit” (Mark 7:21-22, NIV). The desire of the Spirit is for us to be absolutely honest. I can’t overemphasize that the life of absolute honesty is supernatural. We must submit ourselves entirely to Christ as Lord and allow Him to live His life through us.
The most challenging book I have read on yielding to the Holy Spirit is Humility by Andrew Murray. I heartily recommend it to you.