What Does It Mean To Be Truthful?
The children have been recently studying the books of Joshua, Judges, & Ruth in the collective bible study. Following one class I found three little notes in the suggestion box all asking “what does it mean to be truthful?” What does it mean to be truthful and how does that impact my life as a child of God? Let’s use Joshua 7 and the story of Achan to help us out.
In Joshua 7 Israel is fresh off of a great victory over Jericho. Israel was given strict instructions from the Lord in chapter 6 to put to destruction the entire city and to keep from the devoted things. Achan however broke faith and took some of the devoted things and hid them in his tent. Because of this Israel is defeated at Ai, a small city in comparison to Jericho.
Truthful in Heart
While we can’t say with certainty that Achan had set his heart and mind to steal some of the devoted things prior to the taking of Jericho I believe we can say that he didn’t set his heart not to take some of those things. Proverbs 4:23 says to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Achan’s heart was not set on doing the Lord’s will and thus led him to deceitful actions.
Truthful in Actions
Achan did exactly what he was told not to do and did it secretively and had it not been for God probably would have gotten away with it. Achan had fooled his fellow soldiers, his family, and all of Israel. It’s a great lesson and reminder that we too can fool our parents, children, spouse, and brethren but not from God. Achan learned this as well did Jonah.
Truthful in Speech
When we engage in deceitful actions, rooted in a deceitful heart, it typically by nature requires one to speak deceitfully as well. I’m not sure how much Achan had to lie to accomplish what he did but with as many people as there were around and the possibilities of being caught I think it’s safe to assume he had to tell some lies as well. Achan did wind up telling the truth to Joshua but that was after a long process was done to find him out and now there was no way of escape. Being truthful in speech includes being truthful in what we say, how we say it, why we say it, and to whom we say it.
Truthful in Worship
Lastly I couldn’t help but think of what we say often about our worshipping in truth. Our constant prayer is that we worship our God in spirit and truth. Jesus said in John 4 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Have you ever, like Pilate, asked what is truth? I think we naturally think of the laws, the rules, the thou shalls and thou shall nots, to worship in truth means to worship God in the exact manner in which He has commanded.
While I’d agree that worshipping God in the manner in which He has commanded, nothing more or less, is eternally vital and important, isn’t worshipping in truth more than that though? The Hebrew writer warns about our hearts drifting away and neglecting salvation and to anchor our hearts in Christ. How often do we find ourselves worshipping out of “have to” rather than “want to?” How easily are we satisfied with just throwing something together real quick to get us through an hour of worship?
When we lose sight, personally and collectively, of what worship really is and what its truly about, when we find ourselves treating worship as something common, you may do all the right things but it’s no longer true worship. “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
Let’s be children of God who offer praise from our lips from a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10)