R – The Virtue of Truthfulness

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R – The Virtue of Truthfulness2017-03-30T17:07:02-04:00


This is how you disclose what you know to be true.  Do you tell the truth regardless of the personal cost?  Are you genuine and sincere in your dealings with others?  Are you the same person or present the same persona regardless of who you are with?  Do you always try to seek what is true and live out what is true and right?  On the other hand, do you feel it is OK to lie under certain circumstances?  Are you adept at covering yourself?  Do you spin circumstances and facts to your advantage?  Have you been known to manipulate others?  Are you good at telling people what they want to hear or being what they want you to be?  In summary, are you genuinely truthful in your dealings with others or are you often deceptive?


Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

God as Truth

John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. NIV

John 8:32 – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. NIV

John 15:26-27 – When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. NIV

John 18:37 – For this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. NIV

Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. NIV

See also Matthew 5:8, Romans 1:25, John 3:21 & 1 Corinthians 13:6

Desire for God’s Truth

Psalm 43:3 – Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. NIV

Psalm 51:6 – Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. NIV

Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. NIV

See also Psalm 119:30


Psalm 34:13 – keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. NIV

Proverbs 11:3 – The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. NIV

Proverbs 24:26 – An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. NIV

See also Leviticus 19:11, Proverbs 13:5, 14:2, & Zechariah 8: 16-17

Seeking truth

Ephesians 6:14 – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. NIV

1 John 3:18 – Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. NIV

1 Peter 1:22 – Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. NIV

See also Hebrews 10:22 & 1 John 1:8

Dishonesty and deceit

Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? NIV

Proverbs 12:22 – The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. NIV

Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. NIV

See also Jeremiah 9: 5-6

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?


Seeking Truth

R1 – Correctly Handling Truth – 2 Timothy 2:14-19

Key Words: Truthfulness, God’s Word, Speech, Truth

  1. In what specific ways does Paul challenge Timothy to be committed to the truth?
  2. What does this passage reveal about the source of truth?
  3. What are some of the practices Paul instructs Timothy to avoid?
  4. According to verse 14, what seems to be the problem in Timothy’s church?
  5. What is meant by “godless chatter,” and how does it lead to ungodliness?
  6. According to this passage, what types of religious conversation or debate is unprofitable for Christians to engage in?
  7. According to the text, what is the fruit of unprofitable dialogue and teaching… how do we recognize such practices?
  8. Why does Paul indicate it is important to seek true understanding by correctly handling God’s Word?
  9. Should some people be ashamed of their teaching and how it mishandles God’s Word… explain?
  10. How do some teachers today mishandle the word of truth?
  11. How does one go about learning to rightly handle the word of truth?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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R2 – Having Ears to Hear – John 8: 42-47

Key Words: Truthfulness, Truth, Religion, Stubbornness, Messiah

  1. After all of his miracles and teachings, why might some people still question if Jesus was from God?
  2. What argument does Jesus give to the Jewish leaders that he is indeed from the Father?
  3. According to verse 43, why do some people not grasp spiritual truth?
  4. How do our preconceptions often make it difficult to perceive spiritual truth?
  5. What spiritual preconceptions did the Jewish leaders embrace that made it difficult to hear Jesus?
  6. Where does Jesus indicate such preconceptions and understandings come from?
  7. Do you find it surprising that Jesus accuses these very religious people of following the father of lies?
  8. What preconceptions and understandings make it difficult for people today to recognize and embrace spiritual truth?
  9. According to Jesus, how can we ensure we hear and know the truth?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
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R3 – The Spirit of Truth – John 16: 12-15

Key Words: Truthfulness, God’s Word, Holy Spirit, Truth

  1. According to verses 12 and 13, what is one purpose of the Holy Spirit?
  2. Where does the text indicate the Holy Spirit receives the truth he reveals to us?
  3. What is the essence of the promise of this passage?
  4. Is this promise comforting to you as you read scripture and seek spiritual truth… explain?
  5. In what specific ways might the Holy Spirit empower and enable us to know truth?
  6. Have you seen evidence of the Holy Spirit enlightening you regarding biblical and spiritual truth?
  7. What must we do to seek the Spirit in our lives?
  8. In what specific ways do we quench the Spirit in our lives?
  9. Why is genuine spiritual truth illusive for those who do not sincerely seek Christ and his Spirit in their lives?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
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R4 – The Power of God’s Word – John 17: 6-19

Key Words: Truthfulness, God’s Word, Sanctification, Transformation, Truth

  1. What concern does Jesus have for his followers as he prays shortly before his arrest?
  2. How do verses 6 -8 describe those who follow Christ?
  3. What does Jesus reveal about the source of truth in verse 17… do you believe that?
  4. How many times is the ‘word’ or ‘words’ of Jesus mentioned in this passage?
  5. What special relationship do followers of Christ have with the word or words of Jesus?
  6. What does the word sanctify mean?
  7. How does the word of truth work in our hearts to sanctify or transform us?
  8. Why is it imperative that we know and understand God’s word?
  9. What do you say to the person who says they understand spiritual truth apart from God’s Word?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
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R5 – Walking in Truth – Psalm 15

Key Words: Truthfulness, Works, Truth, Honesty

  1. According to this text, who does God reward and how does he reward them?
  2. How does God use the word ‘truth’ in this passage?
  3. List the ways God describes the truthful in this passage?
  4. Why does truth involve both our walk and our words?
  5. What is the connection between our walk and our words?
  6. How would this text define a truthful person?
  7. How does this biblical concept of truth differ from how many in our society define truth?
  8. How can people who don’t view themselves as untruthful live in very dishonest ways?
  9. How easy is it to deceive ourselves… explain?
  10. How can we guard against self-deception?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
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R6 – Selective Truth – 1 Kings 22: 1-37

Key Words: Truthfulness, Truth, Honesty

  1. Was the King of Israel looking for truth or validation… explain?
  2. Why did the king listen to the other prophets while he resisted the words of Micaiah?
  3. How much pressure did Micaiah feel to lie to the king and tell him what he wanted to hear?
  4. Why was Micaiah not intimidated by the king?
  5. How did the truth win out in the end?
  6. Do some people read God’s Word for validation rather than truth… explain?
  7. How does the practice of reading our own preconceptions into the Bible lead towards spiritual impotence and destruction?
  8. What do we learn about truth from this story?
  9. What can we learn from Micaiah about seeking truth, even if it is hard truth?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
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R7 – The Fruit of Truth – Ephesians 4: 9-25

Key Words: Truthfulness, Spiritual Leaders, World, Truth

  1. How is the concept of truth woven into each thought or paragraph in this portion of scripture: paragraphs beginning with verses 9, 14, 17, 20 and 25?
  2. How do verses 9-13 describe the task of spiritual leaders?
  3. What is the ultimate goal of spiritual leaders?
  4. How do verses 14-16 contrast those mature in their faith with those who are immature?
  5. How do verses 14-16 define spiritual maturity?
  6. How do verses 17-19 describe the thinking of Gentiles and their spiritual worldview?
  7. What is the result of their spiritual worldview?
  8. Do the various philosophies of our society often lead to similar lifestyles?
  9. How do verses 20-24 describe the effect of Christian truth and teaching?
  10. How do you respond to teaching that enables people to continue with worldly values and lifestyles?
  11. How does truth according to this passage involve both our understanding and our walk?
  12. According to this text, what should be the role and effect of truth in our lives?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
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R8 – Truth in Us – 2 John and 3 John

Key Words: Truthfulness, Truth, Obedience, Love, Knowledge

  1. Find the 11 times the word ‘truth’ is used in these two short letters?
  2. What is the purpose of each letter?
  3. What is to be our relationship as believers to the truth?
  4. How can the truth actually live in us… describe that dynamic?
  5. How does John link obedience and truth?
  6. What elements, according to these texts, diminish truth in our lives?
  7. Describe the nature of John’s warnings in each letter?
  8. How does walking in the truth go far beyond just knowing the truth?
  9. How and why does John connect truth and love so often in these two letters?
  10. Is it possible to be theologically knowledgeable and still ignorant of the truth?
  11. What is the difference between knowledge and truth?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
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Teaching and Preaching Truth

R9 – The Standard of Truth – 1 Timothy 6: 3-5

Key Words: Truthfulness, False Teaching, False Teachers, Ministry, Doctrine

  1. What does Paul say is the standard of truth?
  2. According to the text, what constitutes false doctrine?
  3. Where do we find the instruction of Jesus today?
  4. What does the text say motivates people who add their ideas to God’s truth?
  5. What impact or result does false doctrine have in the church or among God’s people?
  6. Is there evidence within Christianity today of a lack of sound teaching and instruction?
  7. How should we measure teachers and church leaders?
  8. What happens when leaders are not held accountable for sound teaching and doctrine?
  9. What are the signs that a ministry is unhealthy?
  10. What are the signs that a ministry is healthy?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
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R10 – The Aroma of Truth – 2 Corinthians 2: 14-17

Key Words: Truthfulness, Truth, Favor, Rejection, Good Deeds

  1. According to verse 14, who does God use to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of him?
  2. What exactly does it mean to “spread the fragrance of the knowledge of him?”
  3. Is this task one of word, of action, or both… explain?
  4. Why and how are those who spread God’s truth an aroma of life to some people?
  5. Why are they the stench of death to others?
  6. Does it bother you that some will be offended or reviled if you stand for God’s truth in your life?
  7. What should influence us more: the fear that comes from knowing some will reject you and your message, or the hope that comes from knowing some will embrace you and your message?
  8. According to verse 17, why is sincerity important as we share God’s truth?
  9. Describe a sincere messenger.
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
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R11 – Holding to the Truth – 1 Timothy 3: 8-11

Key Words: Truthfulness, Doctrine, Spiritual Leaders, Integrity, Character

  1. What qualities does God look for in a leader?
  2. How many of these qualities have to do with integrity: sincerity, truthfulness and honesty?
  3. Does it surprise you these characteristics are emphasized when other qualities are not even mentioned… explain?
  4. What are qualities we often for in leaders today that are not even mentioned by the text?
  5. What does it mean to hold to the deep truths of the faith? Why is it important for leaders to both believe and live according to biblical truth?
  6. What happens to the church and kingdom when leaders are chosen solely by other standards: charisma, giftedness, popularity, or wealth?
  7. What does the text mean when it indicates that leaders should first be tested?
  8. What does this tell you regarding how God values biblical truth, truthfulness and sincerity?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
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Honesty and Integrity

R12 – Leading with Integrity – Exodus 18: 13–26

Key Words: Truthfulness, Spiritual Leaders, Wisdom, Integrity, Honesty

  1. Describe the problems faced by Moses.
  2. Why is it important for spiritual leadership to be shared (Hint: the answer is more than logistics)?
  3. What kind of people did Jethro suggest Moses choose to be judges over the people?
  4. Are the qualities mentioned desirable only for Moses’s situation or are they applicable to all contexts of spiritual leadership?
  5. Define spiritual integrity?
  6. What kinds of problems arise when leaders lack integrity?
  7. Do you see any connections between the qualities Moses looked for and the qualities God desires for leaders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1?
  8. Do you agree or disagree that the Bible seems to prize honesty, sincerity and purity of heart as the beginning of genuine spirituality and leadership?
  9. How do we grow in spiritual integrity?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
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R13 – God’s Will Our Way – Genesis 27

Key Words: Truthfulness, Family, Deceit, Blessing Integrity

  1. Describe the family dynamic going on and why it was dysfunctional?
  2. How does a family evolve to this dynamic?
  3. What does the text infer about the significance of the blessing and why it was so important to the two brothers?
  4. How does Rebekah ensnare Jacob and involve him in her plan?
  5. What impact did all this deceit have on Isaac’s family?
  6. What impact do you suppose Jacob’s deceit had on his relationship with God?
  7. Have you ever witnessed agenda, deceit and dishonesty blow a family apart?
  8. It says earlier in Genesis 25 that Jacob will be the dominant of the two brothers, do you suppose it was God’s will for Jacob to receive the blessing… explain?
  9. What do we learn from this text about achieving God’s will our way?
  10. How is it possible to seek God’s will our way?
  11. What results from seeking God’s will our way?
  12. Why is it important to seek God’s will God’s way?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
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R14 – Living Truthfully – Genesis 29: 14-30

Key Words: Truthfulness, Deceit, Honesty, Transformation, Truth

  1. The name Jacob means “supplanter” or “one who tricks and deceives;” how does Jacob’s history with his brother Esau bear this out (See Genesis 25-27)?
  2. What motivated Jacob in his early years?
  3. In what specific ways does Jacob reap what he has sown?
  4. Do you suppose Laban’s treatment of Jacob had any connection with Jacob’s history?
  5. What qualities of character did Jacob learn while working for Laban?
  6. Why did the Lord feel the need to break Jacob in the way he did?
  7. What does the name Israel mean (See Genesis 32: 28)?
  8. How did God change Jacob from being a supplanter, trickster, insincere, disingenuous, and a man with impure motives to being called “Israel?”
  9. What is the significance of God changing Jacob’s name?
  10. Was his nature changed as well as his name… explain?
  11. What motivated Jacob in his later years?
  12. Why and how should a genuine encounter with God lead to honesty and truth in our lives?
  13. How has your relationship with God changed you from what you use to be?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
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R15 – Plots and Schemes – Psalm 52

Key Words: Truthfulness, Schemes, Deceit, Fruits of Sin, Righteousness

  1. What insight does the introduction to this Psalm give us regarding its content?
  2. How universal are the presence of plots and schemes in human society… explain?
  3. How does David describe Doeg the Edomite?
  4. What character risks do we run when we posture and attempt to manipulate people or situations to our advantage?
  5. What are the motives of those who maneuver socially or politically?
  6. How would God describe their hearts?
  7. What are the tools of those who maneuver in these ways?
  8. According to the text, what are the fruits of behaving way?
  9. How does the text contrast the behavior and trust of the righteous with that of the schemer?
  10. How would you sum up the lessons from this Psalm and how believers are to approach social and political favor?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
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R16 – Life Validates Truth – 1 Kings 17

Key Words: Truthfulness, Integrity, Good Deeds, Honesty, Motive, Character

  1. Many people say they like Jesus, but not Christians; where is the disconnect?
  2. Is verse 24 the theme of this chapter… explain?
  3. Why was the widow woman anxious concerning Elijah?
  4. How did the woman know Elijah was a true man of God?
  5. Why is the connection between what we say and what we do so important?
  6. What must people naturally conclude when our actions do not match our words?
  7. What does such inconsistency reveal about our character, sincerity and motives?
  8. What does such inconsistency reveal about our message?
  9. How did the widow woman respond to Elijah’s consistency of words and life?
  10. How do others typically respond to this kind of honest life?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
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R17 – Integrity in Business – Deuteronomy 25: 13-16

Key Words: Truthfulness, Business, Work, Honesty, Integrity

  1. List the various transgressions involved in using weighted scales?
  2. Figuratively speaking, what temptations do you face to use weighted scales?
  3. Do you think the temptation to cheat in business is stronger today than it was back then… how about the opportunity to cheat?
  4. How does God feel about those who get ahead using dishonest means?
  5. How would you respond to a Christian who believed that cutting corners and engaging in deceptive business practices is only business?
  6. What is God saying to us today when he says to use accurate and honest weights?
  7. Why is integrity important for God’s people in business: both personally and for God’s kingdom?
  8. What does God teach will happen to those who deal honestly and fairly with others?
  9. Sum up how Christians should treat others in a business environment?
  • Think before answering
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Dishonesty and Deceit

R18 – When Evil Comes to Church – Romans 16: 17-19

Key Words: Truthfulness, Church, Divisions, Deceit, Speech, Criticism

  1. Do most people who cause division in the church view themselves as good or bad?
  2. How do such people rationalize and justify their behavior?
  3. Why do you suppose time and again the Bible accuses divisive people of being deceptive, malicious and evil?
  4. Are divisive people self-deceiving… explain?
  5. What does the text say about the motive of such people?
  6. What does the text say about how such people operate?
  7. Give examples of “smooth talk and flattery.”
  8. How do you respond when divisive people say they were only trying to help and offer constructive criticism?
  9. Have you experienced this kind of behavior in your church?
  10. Why are such people so dangerous?
  11. Why are such people often able to continue in their unhealthy activities?
  12. How are divisive people exposed and what should you do if you are the one creating division?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
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R19 – Caught Up in Culture – Jeremiah 5

Key Words: Truthfulness, Deceit, Falsehood, World

  1. Describe the people of Judah and Israel at this time.
  2. Count the times in the passage the Lord condemns them for either falsehood or deceit.
  3. What consequences does the text indicate will fall upon them for their dishonesty and rejection of truth?
  4. Why do you suppose the Lord’s anger burns especially hot towards those who are false?
  5. Why is the issue of honesty always so central to God?
  6. Do we have a tendency to excuse or even affirm bad behavior because everyone else is doing the same thing… explain?
  7. Why is culture not an excuse for sin?
  8. What cultural sins are popular today?
  9. Why are cultural sins so subtle and dangerous?
  10. How do we protect ourselves from cultural dishonesty and sin?
  •  Seek Nuance
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R20 – The Imperative of Honesty – John 4: 1-28

Key Words: Truthfulness, Honesty, Self, Righteousness, Sin, Deceit

  1. Do you feel this woman was lying to herself when she misrepresented her situation to Christ… explain?
  2. Do people have a tendency to gloss over truth to feel better about themselves… explain?
  3. How did Christ respond to her deceit?
  4. What happens when we lie to Christ to present ourselves as more than we are?
  5. Who are we really fooling when we cling to self-righteousness?
  6. What breakthroughs happen in the story when the woman finally comes clean about her moral and spiritual condition?
  7. What happens when we agree with Christ and accept his assessment of our moral and spiritual condition?
  8. What happens when we push back and reject what Christ and the Bible have to say about us and our behavior?
  9. Why is honesty imperative for God to move in someone’s life?
  10. How should we view ourselves in regards to sin and Christ?
  11. How should this self-awareness impact how we carry ourselves and relate to others?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
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R21 – All Sins are Lies – Romans 1: 18-32

Key Words: Truthfulness, Sin, Deceit, Falsehood, Truth

  1. How is this passage an exposition on truth (Hint: explore how each paragraph speaks to the relationship between truth and sin)?
  2. How does this text describe the nature and universality of truth?
  3. How does the text describe the relationship between dishonesty and sin?
  4. Must all sin contain a lie somewhere… explain?
  5. How do people suppress truth by wickedness?
  6. Is exchanging truth for a lie ultimately a matter of the will… explain?
  7. Why is our willingness to embrace God’s truth a key to knowing God and pleasing him?
  8. What personal qualities enable us to embrace God and his truth?
  9. What personal qualities cause us to suppress God and his truth?
  10. How is our attitude towards truth evident in our lives?
  • Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section
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  1. Spend time seeking God through Bible reading and prayer every day for one month.
  2. Attempt to go through entire day consciously trying to be 100% honest and truthful in everything you do and say. This means no posturing, no embellishing, no exaggerating, no truth stretching, no fudging and especially no lying or falsehoods of any kind.  Once you succeed for a day, you may wish to try a week.
  3. Attempt to go through an entire day without saying anything negative about another person. This means no gossip, no slander, no impure or ulterior motives, no manipulation, no malice and no insincerity of any kind.  Once you succeed for a day, you may wish to try a week.
  4. Make an anonymous gift to another to ensure that you don’t get credit.
  5. Resolve to become a peacemaker for one week. Whenever gossip or conflict crosses your path you call it out and seek to diffuse the problem.
  6. Review your spiritual profile once again with your spiritual coach. Focus on the sections that allow you to measure self-perception regarding various virtues and vices against actual strength or weakness in these areas.  Explore the variance and the reasons for it.
  7. With whom have you broken faith over the past year? Are there people you have let down, lied to, manipulated, gossiped about or used in some way?  Sincerely identify as many of these people as you can and take steps to confess, reconcile and make things right.
  8. Make a list of all of the questions you have regarding the Christian faith. Discuss with your spiritual coach how to research the answers.  Spend time intentionally seeking out truth in these areas.
  9. Prayerfully write a letter from God to yourself about the ways your life needs to be more consistent with your beliefs. Be sure to spend a great deal of time in reflection and taking notes before you write the letter.
  10. Keep a journal of regrets for two weeks. Examine each day and list all of the things you wished you had done or said to be more authentic in your Christian Walk.  You may wish to keep the journal for an additional two weeks if the process seems valuable or incomplete.


  1. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun – Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, (Readings on Teachability, Confession and Self-Examination, Submission, Readings in Part 5 on Hearing God’s Word and in Part 7 on Prayer)
  2. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  3. Dare to be True: Living in the Freedom of Complete Honesty by Mark D. Roberts
  4. After “I Believe:” Experiencing Authentic Christian Living by Mark D. Roberts
  5. Toxic Faith by Arterburn and Felton
  6. The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
  7. The Inner Life by Andrew Murray
  8. The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
  9. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  10. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
  11. All the Evidence You will Ever Need: A Scientist Believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Paul D. Baba