The Antidote to Self-Deception

January 9, 2019
By MB Discipleship

In partnership with Seedbed, Mt. Bethel brings you the Seedbed Daily Text:  a study on 1 John.

1 John 1:8

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.


The longer I live, the more I realize we human beings have an almost limitless capacity to deceive ourselves. In other words, sin may not be our biggest problem. I’m beginning to think our biggest problem is the way we deceive ourselves about sin.

I’ll go first. Like you, I probably wouldn’t come out and claim to be without sin. My problem is the way I have slowly adopted patterns of sin in my own life that I don’t even see as sin anymore. They have become my normal.

For instance, I remember a time in my past when I was a fiercely analytical, point-out-the-problem kind of person. I considered it a gift. I had what I considered the spiritual gift of figuring out what was wrong with just about anything—including you. One day, by the mercy of God, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had a critical spirit. What I had normalized as the “gift of critical analysis” was actually the sin of a critical spirit.

Translation: I was self-deceived. I hurt people with impunity. The real bottom line? This was a failure to love. In my judgment, John’s greatest gift to us will be the ability to understand sin through the lens of our relationships rather than through the metrics of our personal performance. Lots more on that to come.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Here is a walking-around prayer as we walk this way with John. It’s something of an antidote to self-deception: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

See what I mean? More on this tomorrow.


Lord Jesus, I confess I am a sinner. Now would you help me to actually confess my sins, and not just the outward behaviors, but the inward dispositions and broken ways of my life? Help me to understand sin not as my failure to live up to my standards, but as my failure to love you and other people. In your name, Lord. Amen.


What is the difference between identifying yourself as a sinner and actually confessing your sins?

P.S. If you would ever like to reach out to J.D. Walt, the author of the Daily Text, he can be reached via email at [email protected]. If may take him a few days, but he will respond.