The 'pride of life' is one of the three main areas of temptation, along with the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16). In order to feel good about life, Satan lures us to raise our own profile by speaking badly of others; and to deceive others by saying either less than the truth or more than the truth about ourselves. Peter reminds us here that this quote from Psalm 34:12-16 is still speaking as God's Word - those who want to enjoy life must be utterly truthful. Otherwise our own words will trap us, and the good we seek will escape from our grasp; also, our prayers will not be answered (1 Peter 3:7).
There is nothing wrong in loving the life the Lord has given us. There is everything right about delighting in His wonderful creation, the joy of our senses picking up sounds and scents, touching textures and tasting good food. The Apostle Paul said that we should cherish whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). God gives us everything good for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). But the habit of our sinful nature is to take pleasure in evil, to deceive others by what we say and do (2 Peter 2:18).
The person who follows Jesus needs to learn a daily repentance (John 5:14). We should constantly turn from the evil around us, which seduces us and pleases the devil, so that we can practise what is good and please God. Speaking the truth in love is a key indicator of godliness (Ephesians 4:15), because Jesus is the Truth. But the habits of this fallen world often appeal to our old nature and seek to invade our own hearts. When that happens, we are no longer shocked by hearing ourselves exaggerate or failing to tell the whole truth. But it greatly saddens God who will not respond to our prayers as He would like (Isaiah 59:1-2).
In business, lies can become a convenience, luring the client with a promise that the product can never deliver. Bosses might tell employees less than the truth in order to keep them 'on-side' in a time of change. Verbal deceit happens everywhere; at home, at work, in the church ... but it should not happen at all. The Lord is watching out to see the man and woman who love to do what is right, and to answer their prayers, and to enable them to enjoy the life He has given them. So perhaps a review of your mouth-style is overdue.
© Dr Paul Adams