If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31, 32, 34-36
My sister got me hooked on this Amazon Prime series, “Sneaky Pete” and I binge watched it sometime over the last month. While it is cleverly written, I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘must watch’ because it’s filled with the f word, and it is based on continual lies and deception. In other words, ‘Don’t try this at home.’ But talk about people being a slave to lies. The basic plot line is that Pete is a con man and he pretends to be someone he’s not. He gets involved with this family where basically everyone is a conning everyone else.
I wonder what the series would be like if one of them were to become radically saved and were to get fired up with the truth, in the midst of a very crooked back drop. Jesus told the Jews who believed in Him: “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” We are all ‘Sneaky Petes.’ We all are prone to the faulty habit patterns of deception, manipulation, white lies, exaggeration, and blame shifting.
We think we are the master of deception, but it really masters us. We’re enslaved by it. We try to stop stretching the truth, taking things that aren’t ours, or manipulating, but it comes so naturally. In John 8, John went on to write about the origin of our problem: Satan. Jesus was debating with religious leaders about who their father was. They said it was Abraham. Jesus said it was the devil because they were trying to kill Him and they didn’t love Him.
Jesus went on in verse 44 to say that, You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Only Jesus sets us free from those habit patterns. And only in soaking in the truth of the Bible, letting it transform our hearts, do we begin to see those habit patterns of lying, cheating, and manipulating get brought to the light and changed around.
I remember working with a woman that had become a Christian, trying to disciple her. She had come out of a life of much drinking and gambling, and a few other vices. She used to say things like, “No, now I’m going to walk in the truth.” It was like she had to say out loud that she was going to tell me where she really was, instead of making up a story. This was contrary to her old habit patterns. It was a constant struggle for her.
I worked with her on memorizing specific Bible verses to combat some of the lies of Satan that she struggled with the most. While she memorized them, she soon slid back into her old life. Looking back, I learned that there is a second key ingredient to fighting off the old life and its lies–the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:4-6 announces, But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
Without the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life, or in someone else’s life to overtake the grip of sin, so often the old life wins out. I’ve seen it over and over with the women I have attempted to disciple. They need the power of the Holy Spirit to break the chains of the bondages that have gripped them.
The truth of God’s word sinking deep into the crevices of our heart drives away the habit patterns of deception that used to enslave us. It sets us free from the bondage of being a Sneaky Pete, and that’s a great place to be.
*Image from Pixabay