You and I often pride ourselves on the clarity of our thinking. We seem to make dispassionate analyses, to construct carefully crafted scenarios like puzzle pieces. This affirmation leads to that affirmation, which leads us to the next affirmation. And the next. On the surface, this looks like a good thing. The trouble comes when decisions must be made in the moment, and our carelessness pushes us to override what we, in our hearts, know to be right. And true.

When David saw Bathsheba bathing, he didn’t forget God’s prohibition against adultery (more about David and Bathsheba later). Thinking that his kingly position would afford him whatever he would need to “work this out later,” he pushed past the law of God and the prodding of his conscience and slept with her.

Do you wonder how well David was able to put this horrible travesty behind him in the ensuing weeks? Actually, I’m guessing that, given David’s willingness to use his power to abuse his neighbor’s wife, and then to cover it up by having her husband murdered, he did just fine. The easily distracted and proud king got busy with his kingly duties. Busy, busy, busy. Then, one day, Nathan the prophet rained on his parade, busting him with the truth.

Once David knew he had been found out, emotions (that should have shouted in the first place) overwhelmed him. A reading of Psalm 51 paints a life-size mural of David’s profound regret for making a bad decision (actually, two bad decisions).

When you and I fall prey to lies, the reason is more likely to be pride and less likely to be gullibility. In the moment, we think we know better than God. We know in our heart and our conscience what is right, but we choose what is wrong.

Sometimes we believe the lie that God will not notice. Sometimes we believe the lie that God will not care. Invariably we believe the lie that somehow it will work out and so we go ahead and do what we want to do.

Back in the garden, Adam knew that God would not be pleased with his actions. Adam knew he and God disagreed; perhaps in that moment he was foolish enough to think that his way was right and God’s way was wrong . . . or at least, that he could go ahead with this disobedient choice, he could talk his way out of a corner, and God would understand and forgive. Consider the kinds of lies that men believe. Don’t lose sight of the reason why we are susceptible to believing them. The root of the issue is pride. We think of ourselves as thoughtful and in control. We think of ourselves as wiser than the God who planned all things from beginning to end. We think we can see the future, disbelieving God and believing ourselves.

But we are called to be obedient soldiers in God’s kingdom. We are called to walk with Him as loving husband-shepherds seeking to reflect our Good Shepherd, as fathers seeking to reflect the character of our great Father, or just as men, who simply want to live a holy life. We must take every thought and every emotion captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

Adapted from Lies Men Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Robert Wolgemuth (©2018). Published by Moody Publishers. Used with permission.