Three times in 1 John 1 the apostle repeats the phrase "If we say":
"If we say, 'We have fellowship with Him,' and walk in darkness" (v. 6).
"If we say, 'We have no sin'" (v. 8).
"If we say, 'We have not sinned'" (v. 10).
The worst lies we tell are the ones we tell to ourselves. Every deception starts with the man in the mirror. If you lie to a friend, that's bad but at least you know what you've done. If you lie to yourself, you're probably not even aware of it.
No wonder the psalmist confessed, "How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults" (Psalm 19:12 NLT). Only the Lord himself can deliver us because he alone sees the part hidden from our own view.
The next time you're tempted to make a big claim for how good you are, remember John's triple warning. If we say we're something that we're not, we're only fooling ourselves.
Lord Jesus, take a scrub brush to my soul so that I will be clean from the inside out. Scour away the dirt of self-deception that keeps me from walking closely with you. Amen.