As a parent, are you dealing with a child who struggles with lying? Or are you a counselor who is working with a child who is constantly deceitful? How can you help children to act in godly ways? How can you influence not just behavior but the heart and will?
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
. . . “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:20-22)
It can be a despairing thought to realize that our actions are actually an overflow of what is in the heart—the heart that the Bible describes as “deceitful above all things and desperately sick.”1 It is when we realize that we are helpless to change that heart, that despair sets upon us. How can we ever overflow in righteousness? How can the words of our mouths be gracious, the actions of our lives be kind and generous, the thoughts of our minds be pure?
But Paul’s instructions in Ephesians give hope to us, to the children in our homes, and to the children we teach and counsel. We need no longer walk as the Gentiles, in the futility of our minds, with darkened understanding, alienated from the life of God due to a hard heart!2 We and the children in our care can “learn Christ”!
Children can “hear” about Him and be “taught” the truth that is in Jesus.3 We can lead them to put their confidence in Christ, trusting Him for the forgiveness of their sins and the fulfillment of all His promises to them—including the promise to change their hearts and to be their strength in weakness. As we work out our “own salvation with fear and trembling,”4 we can model and instruct them in putting off the “old self” and putting on the “new self.”5 We can help them “be renewed in the spirit of [their] minds”6 as we train them in righteousness, encourage them to trust in the power of God, deny the temptations of the enemy, and practice walking in the truth.
Putting Away Falsehood is a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and counselors who desire not only to change behavior, but to approach the problem of deceit from a biblical perspective of heart transformation through “the renewing of the mind” and the power of Christ at work in the heart. Each chapter leads the child to dependency on Christ through instruction, discussion, and application, and includes a follow-up assignment focusing on the mind, heart, and will of the child. May the instructions and activities in this booklet help you lead the next generation in walking “after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” as an expression of a transformed heart and the desire to obey and please Christ.
1 Jeremiah 17:9
2 Ephesians 4:17-18
3 Ephesians 4:21
4 Philippians 2:12b
5 Ephesians 4:22-24
6 Ephesians 4:23