Each night on the O’Reilly Factor, Bill closes with the “Tip of the Day.” Some “tips” suggest books to read, shows to see, habits to avoid or attitudes to develop. Last night’s tip was especially good. And it was Biblical!
“Be honest with yourself” was O’Reilly’s advice. He observed that it’s a difficult thing to do. We all have flaws, but too often we fail to admit them. We rationalize our short-comings. Overlook our errors. And may even be in denial about attitudes or actions that are self-destructive.
The Bible exhorts us to examine ourselves. To look inside our hearts and lives to see if we are faithful to the Lord, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Cor 13:5, NIV).
However, the difficulty in self-examination is being honest with what we see. To accurately and fairly admit what we see and then to own up to the need to make changes. The admonition “Do not be deceived” is found several times on the pages of the Bible.
Paul shared that concern with the Corinthian Christians. “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor 11:3). The devil deceived Eve with his lies, and he’s still working today to deceive you and me.
The devil tells us that we have the right to choose our own friends. But the Bible says, “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Cor 15:33)
The devil says, “Morality is a personal choice. You have a right to be happy. Your sexual preferences are nobody’s business.” The Bible says, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators…nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites….will inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor 6:9-11).
The devil scoffs at consequences. He advises, “Go for it. Nothing bad is going to happen.” But the Bible says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal 6:7-8)
Often the problem begins with pride. The devil deceives us, fills our hearts with pride, and blinds our eyes to the obvious.
The Old Testament prophet Obadiah chastised Edom saying, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” Our arrogance is an obstacle to honest evaluation. It is painful to admit our problems. To acknowledge our weaknesses. To see our sins.
The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” (Jer 17:9). In fact, the wise man wrote, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Prov 28:26).
Honest examination begins by believing in God, accepting His Word, and looking into the Bible to see ourselves the way God see us. The Bible writer James offers this counsel.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25).
“Be honest with yourself” is more than just a “Tip of the Day.” It’s a divine principle by which we need to live everyday.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman