Deception & Integrity
Moorings of the Web – Lesson 11 of the “Overcome” Faith Based Addiction Recovery Study
There was a quote about a tangled web and deceiving we’ve all heard from our grandparents before. Deception is a messy game, and I’m not sure of many instances it ever paid off in the long run. When we deceive others, we want them to believe the lie. When we deceive ourselves, we want to believe the lie. Follow along in Lesson 11 of the “Overcome” – Faith Based Addiction Recovery Study to learn more about deception and rebuilding our character.
Throughout this course, we have been dissecting motivating factors for addiction. In this post, we will be looking at a casualty of not only addiction, but of sin in general: our character. Last week we talked about preparing for conflict by committing. Part of that committal is rebuilding integrity.
This lesson could easily be spread over a couple of weeks, but I want to give you a few markers on a map, if you will. So, we will not be covering deception in great detail. I’m sure we all know what it is and why we humans do it. Instead we will be investigating a single word and idea; completeness. Because in all honesty, having a lesson that only focuses on deception instead of integrity is like a lawnmower in the desert, not very useful.
So, let’s get this ugly bit of work out of the way so we can move forward. It’s easy to beat another person up over selfish choices and tell someone what they shouldn’t do. If you have a conscience, I’m pretty sure you know most of the deceptions within you.
Deception is the absence of truth and originates from the heart. Motivated by some gain, if you drill down deep enough. We often lie to get what we want or in making excuses. Often, others are not the only recipient of lies. A prominent and even more detrimental deception is believing you will never be sober or better, that you can not only recover but live a life of recovery, or that you are too bad to come to Christ. Once you begin the art of deception, it becomes a stray dog that you feed, until you confess and repent.
So, as I said earlier, I would rather spend most of our time painting a picture of integrity through the word complete. It’s easy enough to tell someone what they shouldn’t do. In this case, it is better to tell someone what they can be. Dwell on the scripture below while we begin to set up our canvas for this study:
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:4
Notice the word complete. For a moment, I want you to think of the hull of a boat. When it is free of defects or voids, the integrity of the hull is considered intact. If that hull has been damaged, it is said to be compromised. The way we describe integrity is with words like honesty, moral, whole, undivided, trustworthy, peaceful, blameless, doing what we say we are going to do, complete. Integrity describes something, our character. Integrity is seeking completeness via obedience and truth. Where deception exists, completeness is impossible. When the hull of the ship has integrity, we don’t have to worry about sinking.
Rebuilding our Character
So, in efforts to gain integrity, we must begin by rebuilding our character. Rebuilding our character is a critical stage of our recovery, and in order to do this, we must first see a value in the effort. The following questions are meant to spur you on to consider the worth of such an undertaking. Understand, I have had to inventory these frequently to make sure that what I am saying and doing actually lines up with who I think I am.
- Right now, when someone hears your name, what do you imagine comes to mind?
- Can those around you count on you and trust you?
- Are you really trying or just trying to look the part?
- What are you going to be known for, when someone is chosen to deliver your eulogy?
- What labels will be etched on your tombstone?
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
To fully appreciate this verse, I suggest you read Ephesians 2:1-10 before going any further. Read these ten verses and ponder the questions above. Let these words and thoughts echo in your mind before answering them. For me it was a sobering realization that I had indeed lost my way and didn’t have the slightest bit of direction for my life. It was a venture I would have to take. But in order to engage in this journey, we have to set a true north, re-calibrate our compass if you will, with the following three facts;
Who we are:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9
Who Jesus is:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6
Who God is:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1
“Overcome” – Faith Based Addiction Recovery Study
Application – Seek Completeness
The road to rebuilding your character is fraught with obstacles and opportunities. It is in these aspects that give you the chance to not only develop integrity, but to show others what God has done for you. Many of you may perpetually be on trial with cynical family members that question your truthfulness. If you peel back the layers, the past suspicion is usually warranted. Make amends the best you can and let your actions speak where your words fail. Too often we do good for a short period of time, only to run into an obstacle and backslide. That is why this sub-section is titled seek completeness, not obtain completeness. Completeness will never be obtained this side of heaven. But He gives us opportunities to walk in good works instead of falling down constantly. Bad decisions do not require more bad decisions. We have to make the decision and commit ourselves and efforts to the task at hand.
We all struggle with being obedient to God and allowing other things to take God’s position in our hearts. Confess the deception, so conviction can take place. Repent from where you have fallen and get back up. We do this because we believe in what Jesus did for us. If He was willing to die to pay for our sins, do you think he is going to lead you astray about how you should live the life He has called you to?
In closing, I leave you with a plan and a promise from scripture:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
The “Overcome” Faith Based Addiction Recovery Study is part of the discipleship program at First Contact Ministries in Hendersonville, NC.
Did you miss the other lessons in this series? Click see the entire Overcome Christian Recovery Bible Study series.
We always look forward to meeting new people at our Tuesday night support group meetings at 6:30 pm, located at Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, NC. Our classes are designed to teach biblical principles for addiction recovery through discipleship. Our goal is to show the love of Jesus by supporting those who need it most.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit: The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Christian Leadership Book