1 John 3:18-19
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
He thought he knew how to live as an honest person. Ever since he was small he was taught not to lie, and that is as far as honesty went with him. His words were his measuring rod. For many people, this might seem sensible; one who does not tell lies must be an honest person. So he held himself to that standard and felt like he met it with ease. It was not until a relationship brought a challenge and confrontation that he realized perhaps he was not as honest as he thought. His deceptions were not in the words he spoke as fact. This man’s dishonesty was in the way he used his very true words as a way to manipulate others. He lied whenever he painted a picture for someone that was not representative of his true motives.
We must look at honesty and honest living as more than just speaking words which are true. To live in truth means that we do not deceive in any way. I may have suffered a multitude of tragedies in my life, and speaking of those events factually would not be a lie. However, if I use those stories to try to manipulate a person or situation to my advantage, then I am not living in truth. That is no less a dishonest act than my inventing tragic stories for the same result. This instruction to love in deed and truth instead of loving in just words means that we have no pretense behind how we behave. What you see is what you get. This does not mean that we must tell every detail of ourselves, but it does mean that we are not motivated by a desire to fool or take advantage of others.
Living an honest life is about everything we do and why we do it. We love not for what we can get out of it but for what we can give. We have relationships with people so that we can speak life into them, not so that we can gain something. We obey God because we honor and respect him, not so that we can have the advantage of being on his good side. Honest living is marked by clarity; there is no pretense. We are pure not only in our words but in our intent, and we should expect this motivation to become greater in us over time. As we grow more and more like Christ, this way of living should increase and be evident. If we cannot love and live honestly, we cannot please our Father in heaven. Father, thank You for the living example of your Son, and help us to live in truth just as He did.