Seeking Him: HonestyNo Secrets
Leslie Basham: There’s really no such thing as a secret sin according to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The thing you’re hiding from your husband, the thing you think he’ll never find out, the thing you’re hiding from your parents, the way you’ve sinned against a boss and stolen time or money or possessions or whatever, the thing you did fifteen years ago, the thing that you thought was so little but it gnaws at your conscience, if you don’t bring it into the light and confess it, it’s coming out someday.
Leslie: It’s Thursday, April 24, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Today we’ll hear some core Revive Our Hearts material. Nancy wrote about it in the workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. One chapter of that book is on honesty, and she’s here to teach on this topic that’s practical for all of us. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy: I don’t know if you ever did this when you were a child, but I can distinctly remember playing “let’s pretend” games. My two favorite pretend games to play were school and church. Of course, I wanted to be the teacher or the preacher. I was a controlling child and some things die hard. Of course, I’m the oldest of seven children, so we had a built-in classroom or congregation.
As I grew up, I began to realize that a lot of grownups are still playing “let’s pretend” games. One of the ones we play most often is let’s pretend we’re a Christian. Play church. Play Christian. I realize that the little bit of playacting we did when we were children just kind of takes on some different forms as we become adults.
As we continue through this process of seeking Him and asking God to revive our hearts, we want to experience the joy of personal revival. We’re talking about some foundational building blocks here, some foundational principles, and that’s what we’re going to talk about this week, the principle of honesty. Honesty. Being transparent and open and honest before God and before others about the true condition of our hearts—not playacting, not pretending, but being real.
Now, let me ask you to turn in your Bibles to the book of Psalms if you would. I want us to see a number of passages in the Psalms that talk about the importance of being open and honest before God. If we’re going to meet with God, we’ve got to get rid of the masks, quit pretending, quit playing, and get real.
Psalm chapter 15, first of all. Psalm 15, verses 1 and 2. This is a psalm of David. He’s talking about approaching the Lord, getting close to God. He says,
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.
It’s interesting that he doesn’t end the sentence with “he just speaks truth” because you think of speaking truth as something you do outwardly. But David is saying, no, this is something more than speaking truth outwardly. It’s where communication begins, and that’s in the heart. God lets the person draw near to Him, to dwell in His holy hill, who speaks truth in his heart. The person who at the core is telling the truth, acknowledging the truth about who he really is. He’s not pretending. He’s not playacting. He’s real.
Turn over a few pages to Psalm 24, and you’ll see the same principle beginning in verse 3.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD.
The person who is holy, has clean hands and a pure heart, and the person again who doesn’t lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He doesn’t profess one thing and live something differently. He doesn't act one way but have something different in his heart. He's not making a profession that is fake. It is a profession that is real; that reflects what is really in his heart.
Turn over to Psalm 32 and you see the same principle there. You remember when David sinned his great sin of adultery and murder as related to Bathsheba and her husband. This is one of the psalms that David wrote afterwards expressing the process that God took him through from covering his sin to uncovering his sin; from walking in deceitfulness to walking in honesty.
He says in verse 1, Psalm 32, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Who’s going to cover that sin? We’re going to see in this passage if we cover the sin, we’re not blessed. But if we bring it out into the light, then God will cover it. There’s a difference between God covering my sin and me covering my sin.
What we’re going to talk about this week is the danger and the problem that comes about when we try to cover our own sin. We’re going to see that we need to be open and honest with God and at times with others about what we have done, how we have failed, so that God can then cover our sins.
So he says the one whose sin God covers, that person is blessed. The one whose transgression is forgiven. It’s wiped out. It’s covered over. “Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (v. 2). No double-mindedness. No pretending. No playacting. No hypocrisy. That person is blessed.
Then he says in verse 3, I didn’t always experience that blessing. He says, “When I kept silent [when I refused to speak the truth about my sin to God and to others], my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.”
That’s a picture of God’s conviction. If you don’t understand that phrase, it may mean that you are not a child of God because if you are a child of God, you have experienced times when God’s conviction was so heavy upon you over your sin that you didn’t think you could breath.
“Day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” What happened in verse 5? “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity.”
See, this is a change of heart. Initially, he said I kept silent. I didn’t want anybody to know what I had done. I covered up my sin. I kept silent about it. But then after Your conviction was so heavy up on me, I couldn’t take it any longer. I stepped out into the light.
I said, “I’m coming clean. I’m getting honest. I acknowledged my sin to You.” Look how many times you see this concept. “I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’”
That’s what confession is—acknowledging the truth, agreeing with God. No more hiding, no more covering, no pretending, no faking, no trying to leave a better impression on others or on God. Isn’t that a foolish thing to think that we could leave a better impression on God than is honestly true. He sees it all. He knows it all. But truthfulness about our sin, truthfulness about our spiritual condition requires confession. Saying what God says about our sin, "I did it." No more hiding; no more covering.
You see, God will cover with the blood of Christ and with His mercy and His forgiveness everything that we are willing to uncover. But everything that we cover, God will be forced to uncover and expose. Now would you rather uncover it and let God cover it up, or would you rather hold onto it covered up and force God to uncover and expose it?
Proverbs 28, verse 13, is such a pivotal verse here, a key verse. “Whoever conceals his transgressions [some of your translations say ‘he that covers his sin’] will not prosper." Get it in you mind. Mark it down. This is true.
This is as true as the law of gravity. You jump out of a building, you will fall to the ground. You cover your sin, you will not prosper. You will not be blessed. If you are covering up things in your life that need to be confessed, that need to be acknowledged, if you are covering sin.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses [that’s the opposite of concealing; no more hiding, no more pretending, no more covering, but confessing] and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Listen, I’ll tell you ladies and this helps motivate me to walk into the light, to live a life of transparent honesty, is to realize that it’s all coming out someday anyway. All coming out in the judgment.
The thing you’re hiding from your husband, the thing you think he’ll never find out, the thing you’re hiding from your parents, the way you’ve sinned against a boss and stolen time or money or possessions or whatever, the thing you did fifteen years ago, the thing that you thought was so little but it gnaws at your conscience, if you don’t bring it into the light and confess it, it’s coming out someday.
There’s so many Scriptures that tell us that. Luke chapter 12, verse 2, Jesus said, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Now you think about the secret hidden parts of your life, your past, your present, an emotional entanglement that you’re involved in on the Internet, an email relationship. It’s happening by droves with Christian women.
You think you’re hiding. You think you’re covering. You think your husband will never find out. Jesus said nothing is covered up that will not be revealed. Nothing is hidden that will not be known.
Hebrews chapter 4, verse 13, tells the kind of God that we’re dealing with. It says, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” We will give account. Now that’s a frightening thing unless you learn to live now in light of final judgment, to live now in light of eternity.
One of the marked characteristics of seasons of revival in history, times of the great awakenings, is that people were often overwhelmed with a sense of eternity, a sense of judgment. They came under such conviction that sins that they had been hiding, things they had thought were small or inconsequential now became enormous in their eyes.
They began to cry out to God in confession and, where needed, to those that they had sinned against in confession as well and to say, "I have sinned. I’m not the person you thought I was. I’ve been a hypocrite. I’ve been a fake. I’m not this great Christian you always thought I was." They got honest about their sin with God and with others.
We are so church trained, house trained, if you will, in our churches, to cover, to pretend. We go to church. We shakes everybody's hand. We hug each other and say, "How are you doing?" "Fine." Everybody's fine.
The fact is, most people aren't fine. Most of us are struggling throughout the week with sinful habits, with temptations, with things we are being defeated by. We've been yelling at our kids all week. We've been indulging our flesh all week. Then we come to church and put on our church clothes and we are all . . . fine? What are we doing? We are playing church. We are playing Christian. We're pretending. We are masquerading, playacting.
If you want to experience true revival, you’ve got to be willing to get honest, to get honest with God, to get honest with your mate, to get honest with others. It can be, I’ll admit, costly to confess. It can be painful to come out into the light and to get honest. But I want to tell you this: It’s far more costly to cover in the long run, far more costly to pretend, to deceive.
In the other psalm that David wrote as a penitent after his great sin, Psalm 51, verse 6, he says to God, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,” in the hidden parts, in the innermost part of my heart (NKJV).
So I want to ask you:
- What are you covering?
- What are you hiding?
- What are you hoping nobody will find out?
It may not be any great, big, huge sin as people measure sins, but if there is something in your life or some things that you haven’t come clean about with God and with the people affected by it, if you’re covering your sin, God’s Word says you will not prosper. God says He desires, He longs for, He insists on truth in the inward heart.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on a topic that affects everybody. Honesty.
Nancy wrote about this crucial topic in the workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.
When you go through this workbook, you’ll see what personal revival looks like. You’ll know what it’s like to be free from guilt and condemnation. You’ll know what it is to live your life through God’s power working in you.
Today and tomorrow, April 24 and 25, we’ll send you the Seeking Him workbook when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Let’s get back to part two of Nancy’s teaching.
Nancy: On at least four different occasions in the gospels, the Scripture makes a point of saying Jesus knew their thoughts. Now that’s a scary thought if you think about it. Jesus knows what we’re thinking before we verbalize it or even if we never verbalize it.
Sometimes I’m sitting in church taking notes, from all appearances taking it all in. But my mind is a million miles away or focused on what other people are thinking about me or how I’m going to handle this or something is going on in my heart that’s very different from the outward appearance.
You can be standing talking to someone, smiling, carrying on this warm conversation and thinking, She is such a bore, or she talks too much. I really don’t like her. But you’re smiling.
Can you think of dealing with a Savior who knows our thoughts and who one day says He will expose anything that we cover? What does it mean to walk in the light? It means to live in the presence of One who knows our thoughts.
Psalm chapter 90, verse 8, says “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” There’s nothing I have ever done, nothing I’m doing now that He does not know.
His light is just a spotlight, a searchlight unlike anything we could imagine here on this earth that searches out the deepest parts, the corners of our hearts, the things that no one else we think knows. He knows. He searches them with His light.
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Go, get your husband.” She said, “I don’t have a husband.” Jesus said, “I know. You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now is not your husband” (John 4:16–18 paraphrased).
What was Jesus saying to that woman? He went on to talk to her about those who worship must worship in spirit and in truth. Jesus was saying, “If you’re going to come to Me, if you’re going to have a relationship with Me, you have got to be willing to come to Me in truth.” To be honest.
Jesus knew it all, obviously, He told her that she had these five husbands, that she was living with a man that was not her husband. But He wanted her to speak the truth, to acknowledge the truth to Him. There is nothing in your life that God doesn't know.
There’s nothing in my thoughts that God doesn’t know, but He wants me to get honest with Him about what He knows to be the truth. That’s humbling. That’s hard. That’s part of the plowing process we’ve been talking about, getting real, getting honest.
There’s a picture used in the Gospel of John and in the first Epistle of John—I’m going to ask you to turn to 1 John now—that has to do with the whole image of light. John, the beloved disciple, talks about this in 1 John chapter 1. He says in verse 5,
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Now the light reveals everything that the darkness conceals. Darkness conceals. Light reveals. Bring something to light. What does that mean? You expose it. You bring it out into the open. John is saying, “Here’s the starting point. God is light. He sees everything. There’s no darkness in Him. There’s nothing He doesn’t know.”
The darkness can let some things be there that you don't know are there until you turn on the light. You turn on the light and those roaches scurry. They want to hide from the light. They don't want to be out in the light. They don't want to be exposed.
Sometimes, we're not more than sophisticated roaches, are we? Just scurrying when the light comes on. We don't want to be exposed. We don't want to get caught. We don't want to be seen. But God is light. When you get in His presence, you can't scurry. There's no place to scurry to. There's no place in Him that isn't light. There's no darkness at all in Him.
In the next few verses, John gives a progression. Actually, Roy Hession writes about this in his book, We Would See Jesus. It talks about three steps through which we become progressively more deceived as we walk away from the light. First, in verse 6 it says,
If we say that we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
So here’s the first step in the progression away from the light. We lie and do not practice the truth. That is, we give an impression of ourselves which is not truthful. We may not tell a lie, but we act a lie. We playact. We wear a mask. We want to hide the truth about ourselves. We don’t practice the truth. We are living a lie.
We lie about what we say, and we lie sometimes by what we don’t say. So we’re deceiving others in that way. We’re experts at this. We can do it in our own homes with the people who know us the best, and we certainly do it when we go to church. But it doesn’t end there.
We deceive others, but then, verse 8, we come to the place where we deceive ourselves. Verse 8:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
What happens is that we live a lie for so long that we start to believe our own lie. We begin by deceiving others, and we end up by deceiving ourselves.
So we think, I’ve not done anything really that bad. I’m not jealous or proud like other people are. I'm a good Christian. We wouldn't say that out loud because we don't want to sound arrogant, but that's the way we come to think about ourselves.
We become deceived into thinking, I'm doing fine. Most Christians think they’re doing fine. “Oh, I got a few struggles, but not like somebody else over here.” We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Then worst of all, verse 10, “If we say we have not sinned . . .” If we cover up the truth, if we cover up our sins, if we refuse to come out into the open and we say we’ve not sinned, what do we do? “We make him [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.”
We get to the point not only where we’ve deceived others, now we’ve deceived ourselves. We’ve come to believe we’re okay because we’ve compared ourselves to others. Then we come to the place where when God points His finger in our heart and He says, “You’re a liar. You’re covetous. You’ve got an immoral heart. You are selfish. You are proud.” We go, “Who me?”
What are we doing? We’re saying, “God, You don’t even know the truth.” We make God out to be a liar. We defend when He convicts. We rationalize. We blame someone else. "Lord, it's my husband. He's the one. If he would just get right with You. It's my teenager. He's so rebellious."
And God is saying, "Look in the mirror. Where did he learn a rebellious spirit? How have you responded to the authority of your husband?"
"But it's my child."
God says, "It is you. Look in the mirror."
We say, “God, You’re a liar.” We wouldn’t say that, but that’s in essence what we’ve said. So our basic need, our first need in coming to experience revival is to see the truth. To see the truth about God, to see the truth about ourselves, to see the truth about our sin as God sees it.
Jesus said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, verses 20–21,
Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may clearly be seen that his works have been carried out in God.
Now did you catch the contrast there? Two different kinds of people. First of all, those who do wicked things. What’s characteristic of them? They don’t want to come to the light. They don’t want to come out into the open. They resist the light. They don’t want to be in the light because it will expose their deeds. Those who do what is wicked.
Now, you’d think the opposite of those who do what is wicked would be those who do what is right, but that’s not what the verse says. First it talks about those who do what is wicked and then the contrast is whoever does what is true. What is true comes to the light. To walk in the truth, to walk in the light. That’s the opposite of doing what is wicked.
God is not looking for us just to do more good things. He’s not looking for us to try harder, to be a better Christian. “I’m going to be good.” God says, “No, I want you to be truthful about who you are, about the condition of your heart. Begin with the first thing He’s showing you. Walk in the light about it. Tell God. Agree with Him. Tell someone else. That’s humbling.
The more you humble yourself, the more you walk in the light, God will give you more light. You say, “Oh, there’s something else.” There’s something else? Yes, but you learn to love walking in the light because remember he who confesses and forsakes his sin will have mercy.
Are you walking in the light? Do you live in the light? Are you living an open, transparent, honest life before God and others? Are you doing truth as Jesus said to Nicodemus? Is there anything in your life that you would not want to have brought into the light? Anything you wouldn’t want to have exposed? Then get it out there before God has to get it out there. Humble yourself.
Some of you need to go to your mate, to a parent, to an employer, to a coworker, to a pastor, to someone you’ve lied to. You’ve covered up; you’ve pretended; you’ve playacted; you’ve not been honest with God and with others about some part of your life, some parts of your life, about attitudes, about actions, about behaviors.
I don’t know what’s in your heart, and you don’t know what’s in mine, but we have God’s Holy Spirit in us if we are children of God, and He convicts. He turns on the light. He says, “Okay, now’s the time to deal with this.” So don’t run from the light. Don’t resent it. Don’t resist it. Run into it because that’s where God is. That’s who God is. You want to get close to God? Come out into the light and do truth.
Leslie: It sounds so free and joyful to walk into the light. I hope you’ll take action on the words you just heard from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Today’s program gives a snapshot of the joy that comes when you experience revival, when you come into the light and embrace honesty.
Honesty is one of the topics Nancy covers in the helpful workbook, Seeking Him. In these pages discover the joy of personal revival, humility, honesty, repentance and holiness. If today’s program helped you, get a copy of Seeking Him and continue growing in these areas.
Today and tomorrow, April 24–25, the Seeking Him workbook is yours when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Visit our website, ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also call toll-free with your donation and ask for Seeking Him. The number is 1–800–569–5959.
An actress was growing up in church. This wasn’t the kind of actress who got up on stage. Her work was more subtle. Well, tomorrow find out why she experienced so much joy when she finally took her disguise off. I hope you can be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.