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Bible Reading: James 5.12

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. James 5.12

James here calls for simple, straightforward and honest speech. People of integrity have no need to swear by elaborate oaths to convince others of their truthfulness. Nor should they swear falsely to deceive people. That is why Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount declared that anything beyond this is of evil. That is because lies belong to Satan himself. Jesus says about Satan in John 8.44, He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The issue here is not to make some rigid rule and to abolish all oaths, for example those made in courts. We find God swearing by His own name in Genesis 22.16, and Jesus responding to an oath spoken by the High Priest (Matt. 26.63-64) and then occasional oaths by Paul in the NT (2 Cor. 1.23, Gal. 1.20, 1 Thess. 5.27), and God uses an oath in Hebrews 6.13-17 dealing with Abraham and the promise of blessing through Him. The issue is this: followers of Christ (those who know Him) are to maintain a high standard of truth in all speech. Christ followers are to be known as people who keep their word, having such integrity that their simple yes is yes and there no is no. Paul says in Ephesians 4.25, Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Speaking truth in every situation will cause followers of Christ to shine forth in the darkness of a world of lies. That is Jesus’ aim and purpose for our life saying in Matthew 5.16, let your light shine before men…and glorify your father who is in heaven.  So, ask the Lord to help you be a person of honesty.

Weekly Memory Verse:  Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.  John 16.24