One of the beautiful things about living in Johannesburg is our trees, we have so many trees in our city that satellites identify us as a rain forest area. In my area, there are a number of old oaks, maple and jacaranda trees, large trees that are probably older than me. However, our area also has a termite problem, a large and hungry population that insidiously eats away at the wood of our trees.
Hang on you say; don’t termites only eat dead wood. Yes, that’s true, but there are over 3000 different species of termites and some have a preference for live wood. New Orleans lost thirty percent of their live oak trees to the Formosan termite. Termites are one of the most successful insects and are found everywhere in the world, except in Antarctica. A queen termite, can live up to 50 years.
They normally live under the ground and start their feeding at the base of the tree. They then create “shelter tubes” (saliva mixed with sand) growing up the tree, building “castles” in the hollows of the bark of the tree. When these are disturbed, one can usually see little white eggs being transported.
Walking in my garden this week, imagine my horror, to discover them in my favorite Tipuana tree! This is not the first time they have visited my tree. When I discovered them before, I tried to wash them away with water, but they just continued their feeding, building new castles up my tree. Eventually, I arranged for an exterminator who sprayed liquid termiticide around the base of the tree, drilling holes into the ground to fill it with poison and also treating the surrounding area. This has now obviously worn off and the little critters are back!
Termites represent falsehoods to me.
A falsehood is a statement that distorts or suppresses the truth. Therefore a falsehood can be an incorrect statement, a lie, a fib, that which is not strictly true. It can be intentionally misleading, or arise out of ignorance or misunderstanding. Falsehoods, just like termites, creep into our root system and slowly start to eat away at the truth we have established our life upon.
What do these falsehoods do?
- Left unaddressed, these falsehoods distort the word of God, by asking: “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1). Just as the enemy used it in the Garden of Eden, so he still uses this strategy to undermine our spiritual lives today. He quietly distorts the truth, or plants lies, half-truths, fibs or wrong beliefs into our lives.
- Not only does he build lies into our spiritual root system, but he uses us to spread his lies. Just like we do, when we transport dead wood and the termites along with them. We spread lies when we are untruthful with others, spreading rumors, outright lies, misrepresentations, false information, exaggerations, downright fibs, white lies. All these do is establish untruth in our environment and prepare the environment for a termite infestation.
Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Eph 4:25)
You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. (Psalm 52:3)
Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev 22:15)
If we do not pay attention, we may find ourselves believing things that we may think is the truth, but is actually a blatant lie, in contrast with the word of God.
We make room for untruths to creep into our lives,:
- When we only listen to pastors and teachers that share messages that tickle our ears, rather than confront us with the reality of our lives. When we neglect the reading of scripture and checking scripture to see if what we believe is actually what the bible says. Or we allow other people to tell us what the bible says, without studying it for ourselves.
- When we allow the teachings of the world to mix in with what we believe, like superstition, ancestral practices, horoscopes etc. we also open the door to false teaching being established in our lives. Anything that is not based on truth, distorts truth. Social media has brought about a new way to influence our thinking, sharing “truth” and opinion that shapes the way people think and what we believe. Movies, books and series, introduce new thinking that shapes what we believe and how we behave. Think on issues of abortion, gay-liberation, promiscuity, pornography and how social media, series and books have shaped our thinking about what is right and true.
- Finally, when we lie to each other, we set up a termite nest in our own relationships. Covering up with the sand of more lies, they build up castles of falsehoods in our lives, that a Sunday at church does not just wash away. Lies once established in our personal lives eat up whatever is true and good in our relationships. Ask any family that has suffered the attack of adultery, anorexia, alcohol or drug abuse etc. It all started with telling lies to each other.
The treatment of falsehood is quite severe, poison drilled deep at the root of the tree.
When it comes to lies, truth is the best killer of lies. The truth of the Word of God protects our root system from infestation. The truth applied to our lives, protects and cleanses us from wrong thinking and influences. Truth, applied in the form of honesty and right living with each other, is what disinfects and heals the damage done by the lies of termites.
We need to examine our hearts well and apply the poison of the truth deep into our root system where the queen of lies hangs around. (Satan is called the father of all lies in scripture and it is his number one strategy) Killing the lie with truth is the best poison against the enemy. This should be the prayer of our hearts:
‘Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. (Proverbs 30:7-8)
Consider the termite and do not ignore its presence in your life.
- The biggest danger with lies, is we develop a tolerance for them in our hearts. Usually because we use lies to have people think better of us, or to get out of trouble. So because we use lies, we tolerate lies in our lives, including the lies of others. We tend to shade out in our minds, that one of the ten commandments is NOT TO LIE. We also develop a tolerance for hearing lies, recognising a lie, but doing nothing about establishing truth. We do this with gossip, or hurtful social media, or spreading false news. How much have you developed a tolerance for lies in your life?
- Falsehoods are not just lies, but whenever we are not totally truthful, listen and promote rumors, misrepresentations, false information, exaggerations, downright fibs and white lies. Anything that is the opposite of truth, is a falsehood – it is that simple. How much do you love and prefer truth in your life? To what extent are you totally honest with God, honest with yourself and honest with other people. Would people around you describe you as an honest person?
- To what extent are lies tolerated and established in your immediate family- where castles (strongholds) of untruth are established and operating from within your own family? When last did you have a family meeting to clear the air? When last did you and your partner take time to talk honestly about your marriage? That friend that you are not so close to anymore – have you ever talked it out? How can you go about creating environments in your relationships, where untruths cannot thrive.
- To what extent and you been influenced and taken in by the latest thinking, opinions and trends of the world around you? How much does media influence your beliefs and the way you live your life? How much does what scripture say influence your beliefs in comparison?
Thank you, Father, that You are ever watchful over your children as you examine our hearts and minds to see if there is any offensive thing, a lie that is being established in our lives to lead us away from life everlasting. I know Lord that You will reveal the truth and that the truth will set me free. Help me to listen, to pay attention when You warn me about lies and falsehoods that are being established in my life. Help me to regularly spend time in the Word of God so that I can more readily recognize a lie when I hear one. Help me to clearly see how truth is being distorted around me and show me how to eradicate lies from my life and that of my family. Help me to live a life where I don’t tolerate untruths.
Next: Doing the Work of the Season
Before: Borer Beetles in your Spiritual Garden
Passing on Truth
I do not Love This World