"If you were to give somebody your best nugget of wisdom, what would it be?"
The Pastor asked us that question to begin his sermon last Sunday, his introduction to a sermon series on the book of Proverbs. But he really shouldn't begin like that because then my mind started ruminating on that question and I wasn't listening to him very closely anymore.
My best nugget of wisdom. If I had one bit of advice to give the world.
Well, the number one nugget of wisdom would be to seek and know God. Period. Above all else. Not join the church, or do good things, or love everybody. KNOW GOD. Everything else falls into place after that.
But that's not what came to mind immediately last Sunday morning. The first best nugget of wisdom
that I fell upon in that moment was this:
Commit to live in truth.
Complete, absolute truth.
No more lies. No more hiding. No more deceit. No more sneaking around. No more masks. No more justifying the unjustifiable. TRUTH.
Be who you are, unashamedly. If you are ashamed of who you are, figure out if you should be ashamed and if so, change that. If you should not, own yourself as a beloved creation of God and learn to accept the child He made.
If you have done shameful things in the past, recognize that once you ask for forgiveness, God wipes that as far away as the east is from the west (I love that image) . . . and then God uses your experience to shape you into who he wants. OWN your failings as much as you own your successes. It's who you are, and it shows God's hand in your life. Perfect people are no testimony to God's grace -- broken people are.
Don't lie. To anyone. Don't hide things. If you are hiding something from someone, good heavens -- that should send off major alarms in your spirit. Why are you hiding this??? Be honest with yourself. I have heard the most ridiculous justifications for covering stuff up. I've known people who convinced themselves they were doing someone else a favor -- "protecting" them -- by deceiving them in the most unconscionable ways. Very rarely is there a good reason to lie to another person. 99 times out of 100, it is wrong. Stop thinking yours is that precious one in a hundred situation every time it's hard to tell the truth.
(If somebody is too weak emotionally to handle the truth, you are only contributing to their weakness by "protecting" them. Speak the truth in love -- help them grow in emotional strength. Someday you won't be able to protect them anymore.)
Stop lying to yourself. Really, that's the most remarkable thing: we tell ourselves things that we KNOW are not true -- and we believe ourselves!! Stop it. Just stop. Nothing is ever better in your life when you are denying the truth. Nothing.
And stop lying to God. You know He knows it all anyway, so it's a waste of time.
Once you stop putting a mask on for God and yourself, you stop needing to have it on for the world . . . and you will be AMAZED how much happier you will be. I promise you.
John called it "living in the light." Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Those are heavy, heavy chains you are binding yourself up with. Throw them off, my friend. Live in truth.