Do you remember the games you used to play as a kid? What was your favorite? Was it playing dress-up or cashier or the politically incorrect Cowboys and Indians? Maybe you formed your own club with a clubhouse and dues that were used to buy candy at the local store. As children, our imaginations ran wild and we thought up all kinds of games to play and stories to tell. We can do the same thing when it comes to living with chronic illness. Chronic illness can be incredibly stressful, and there are times when we don’t know how to respond to something that has shaken up our life. We deny what is happening or we pretend it really isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s almost like a game, trying to keep ahead of the darkness that would descend upon us if we stopped and looked our illness in the face. But it isn’t a game. It’s life. It’s our life. The only way to beat the darkness is to confront it and ask God to help us walk in His light.
Last week in the post “Living in the Light,” I wrote that we can choose to live in the light of Christ instead of allowing ourselves to be swallowed up by the darkness. The Holy Spirit helps us renew our thoughts and attitudes as well as put on a new nature that is created to be like God – righteous and holy. The Apostle Paul, the author of Ephesians, continues on with that thought in verse 25. It reads, “What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”
Good. A well-intentioned untruth - pretending that all is well and that your every dream is coming true instead of being smashed to pieces. What good does this do? Paul tells us, “no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Think about the truth of those words. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Isn’t that exactly what we do? We think that if we tell other people enough times that we are good, just maybe we will be. As we pretend, lying to others and ourselves, we begin to live a life not of freedom in Christ, but of misery.
In Christ’s body, we’re all connected to each other. We need to be honest, giving others the opportunity to encourage us. I’m not saying that you should share with every person every single thing; it’s okay to have discretion in what you share with whom. The point is that all of our little white lies are hurting everyone. The truth is that “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT).”
You are God’s masterpiece, and today you have a choice to make. You can continue to deceive others and yourself or you can make a declaration: No more lies, no more pretense. What will you choose?
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’ ” –John 8:12, NLT
© January 29, 2013