“I Was Only Joking”

 Daily Devotional: Day 106

“Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!”’ (Proverbs 26:18-19, RSV).

Words, words, words. Our words have a lot to do with our personal integrity and our spiritual authority. Being a good Father, God wants to train us to be like his Son, Jesus Christ in character. This training has several components. One of them is the training of our tongue. This is where today’s Scripture reading gets interesting. Some people deceive you, then they say, “I was only joking.” But the Bible likens such people to a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death.

Here is the point: Deceiving other people under the pretext of ‘joking’ is like throwing firebrand, arrows and death at them. In other words, a deceptive joke is harmful to the person who is being deceived, even if we mean no harm. Deception is deception, and our intentions for deceiving are irrelevant. At the end of the day, it makes no difference to God, because the effect is the same: deception is harmful. Once we start calling deception “a joke,” it is only a matter of time before deception becomes our reality.

 What we think is ‘funny,’ God might think otherwise. God wants to lead us to a place of integrity where we mean what we say, and we say what we mean. This is advanced training in godliness (ATG). When we make light of our own words, we undermine our spiritual authority. Think about it: We use our mouth to pray, to sing God’s praises, to confess our faith, etc. If we use the same mouth to deceive – albeit jokingly – how will that not affect the integrity of our prayer and worship life? I know this is a hard one, because most of us love to have fun. But at what cost? Let’s heed the instructions of our Father in heaven because He knows what’s best for us. It’s time to discipline our tongue.


Dear Father, thank you that you always want what is best for me. Open my mind to understand your ways. Teach me to grow in spiritual integrity through the training of my tongue. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

For further study: James 3:1-12

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