“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Luke 1:3-4
Back when I was just starting out as a youth pastor, one of my friends (who was also a volunteer in my youth ministry) dropped by my house. When he came into my living room, he noticed that I had a program on the television that was less than wholesome. It was a popular show among teens and young adults at the time, but it demonstrated tremendous disrespect of parents and glorified dangerous stunts that, under no circumstances, should ever be tried at home.
My friend asked me if this was something I should be watching as a youth pastor. I proceeded to explain to him that I had to watch it, because the youth I was trying to reach were watching it, and I needed to be able to relate to them. I was able to justify watching that juvenile and perverse show. I didn’t see it as wrong or harmful to my spirit but as something necessary for ministry.
Human beings are unbelievably adept at deceiving ourselves. If it there is something we wish to possess or desire to do that runs contrary to our morality, we are able to sell ourselves a justification that allows us to do what we want without the constant torment of guilt.
As Christians we have two tools with which we can combat this kind of self deception. The first is the Word of God, and the second is good people in our lives who can hold us accountable. We need both of these if we are to maintain a faithful walk with Jesus Christ. When we are lacking in either of those areas, we run the risk of convincing ourselves that we have it all figured out, when in reality, we have just constructed a believable narrative that allows us to think we have it all figured out.
Through the Word, we get to know Christ and see the kind of life we are to live. Other people help to make sure we aren’t reading our own deception into the scriptures and to point out some of the areas of our lives for which we have blind spots.
The life of a follower of Jesus Christ is not easy. It takes discipline and diligence to live that life faithfully. Thankfully, God does not expect us to do it alone.
Continually being cleansed,