Revive Our Hearts Podcast

No Actresses

Leslie Basham: Jennifer grew up in church as a good little actress. Then, she discovered the power of honesty.

Jennifer: I have been deceitful; I have been a liar. I have tricked you all into thinking that I’m this happy-go-lucky Christian girl and I love being here. I’m proud of directing the choir and being involved in everything. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a pastor’s daughter and nothing’s wrong with me.

Well, I lied.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, April 25.

Why would someone risk being painfully honest? Is speaking up really worth it? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will show us the great rewards of honesty. She began this series yesterday, teaching from her workbook, Seeking Him. We're focusing today on the chapter on honesty. 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you remember in the old days (they don’t do this very much anymore) how we used to sign letters “Sincerely” or “Sincerely yours”? That word sincere is an important word in the process of revival, and it appears in the New Testament in some significant passages.

One of those is 1 Timothy 1:5, where the apostle Paul says, “The aim of our charge,” the aim of our command, the aim of what we’ve been teaching you, “is love.”

We want you to love God and to love each other and to love others, and that love comes springing forth, it “issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Paul said in Philippians 1:10, “I pray that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ” (NKJV).

The word sincere comes from two Latin words—sine cerus—that mean “without wax.” Now, commentators debate about how this word actually came to be used and what it actually means in the New Testament context.

Some of them suggested that it relates back to a picture used by the ancient pottery makers, particularly in the city of Corinth. That was a lucrative business.

The pottery would first be formed; then it would be placed in an oven to harden, and then well-respected potters would take their piece of pottery, after it had been put into the kiln, and see if there were any cracks that had come about through the hardening process.

If there were any cracks in that pottery, they would toss the piece of pottery and start all over again, and that would make it really valuable pottery because it  had no cracks.

Now, there were some potters who were trying to make a cheap buck, and they cut corners. They were less respected, ultimately, but they would take a blemished piece of pottery and rub some wax in the crack. Nobody could see. It would "fix" the piece.

Now, you've probably had some china or some pottery that is broken, and it is irreplaceable. So you glue it back together. Maybe nobody can see, but it is weakened at that point. It's just not as fine a quality piece once it has had that imperfection covered over.

Some of these potters would sell the pottery with the wax in it as if it were first quality. And with the naked eye, if you didn’t look at it carefully, you wouldn’t know the difference.

So they were undercutting the sincere pottery makers, those whose pottery was without wax: sine cerus. So the honorable pottery makers began to hang a sign over the entrance to their stores that said “Sine cerus.” That means, “This store sells pottery without wax. It’s pure. It’s clean. It’s wholesome. It doesn’t have imperfections in it.”

Now, there are a couple of different words used in the New Testament Greek language that are translated to sincere. One of those words means “clearness.” Purity. Sincerity. It means “unmixed, without any deceit.”

There’s another word—it’s a similar word in the Greek—that’s translated sincere, and this word actually means “judged by sunlight” literally; “tested and proven to be genuine.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary says of that word that it means “free from spot or blemish to such a degree as to bear examination in the full splendor of the sun.”

So when the sun shines on this piece of pottery, you’re not going to see that there’s a crack there that’s been covered up with wax. You can hold it up to the sunlight, and it still will be seen to be clean and whole and pure.

I think of my windows when I think of things being tested by sunlight. You can think they’re so clean until about four o’clock in the afternoon, and that late afternoon sun has a way of just showing up things you wouldn’t see—tested by sunlight.

Sincere means it passes the test of purity under the sun. It’s genuine; it’s pure. Jesus is the light of the world. He shines His light into our hearts. God is light. In Him there is no darkness.

When we get into His presence, His light shines on us, and the question is: What does the light show? Are we sincere? Are we without wax, without pretense, without covering?

Or have we tried to patch up the problem parts of our lives, the imperfections, patching them up so no one else can see? But then God comes in with His all-seeing, all-knowing, illuminating eye and says, “I see that.”

There’s some wax there. There’s some covering up. There’s some pretending. That’s not a pure piece of pottery. There’s some wax there. “This is the real thing,” is what we want God to say when He shines His light on our hearts.

Now, the opposite of the word sincere would be the word hypocrisy or hypocrite. That word comes from a Greek word that means “actor.” It means "to play a part, to pretend."

The stage players in Greek plays would use a mask to impersonate a character. They’d put a mask over their face, and you wouldn’t know who they were. They were pretending to be someone they really weren’t. They were a counterfeit, and the word hypocrite means “somebody who pretends to be something other or better than what he really is.”

Do you remember that Jesus’ strongest criticisms in the New Testament were not toward people that everybody knew were sinners—the woman caught in adultery, the publican, the tax collector, the cheat, the thief? They knew they were sinners.

Jesus’ strongest criticisms were to the people who were holding up masks—the hypocrites, the people who were playing a role. The Pharisees; that’s what that word has come to mean to us, isn’t it? The hypocrite: somebody who plays a part. They were usually people pretending to be more religious than they really were. They wore a mask to cover up the corruption of their hearts.

I’ve had the privilege of serving as part of the staff of Life Action Ministries, which is a revival ministry taking this message of seeking Him, revival—personal and corporate revival—into local churches all across the United States.

We have four teams which go into churches for an extended period of time and basically communicate the same types of principles we are talking about in this Seeking Him series. We are challenging God's people to get real, to get honest, to take off the mask, to step into the light and to put on a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith, so that God can be pleased to glorify Himself and reveal Himself through His people.

For a number of years, as I’ve been a part of this ministry, I had the privilege of being in those revival meetings in local churches and hearing different people through the course of those meetings share what God was doing in their lives as the mask was coming off, as they were getting honest.

I want to play for you two short clips of recent testimonies from Life Action Ministries services. We have permission to share these from the women who shared them.

Both of these were church members, church leaders. Listen, one after the other, as they acknowledge publicly before their congregation, that the impression they had been leaving with others was not sincere.

Woman 1: I came into this crusade saying, “Lord, I know there are things wrong with me, and I don’t know exactly what they are.” I was too full of pride to see them.

There are many, but this one got a hold of me. I can’t remember what verses they are now, but you kept saying them over and over again: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (see Matt. 23:13-29).

I’m a co-commander of your AWANA program. I have not memorized a verse in . . . I can’t tell you how long. Week after week your children would come, and I apologize to you all. I’m so sorry.

I stand before you and in front of you, and I have not been the commander that I should have been, and I ask you to forgive me.

Woman 2: I have been deceitful; I have been a liar. I have tricked you all into thinking that I’m this happy-go-lucky Christian girl and I love being here. I’m proud of directing the choir and being involved in everything. I’m proud of the fact that I’m a pastor’s daughter and nothing’s wrong with me.

Well, I lied. I’ve become very bitter, very angry. I drive in this parking lot, and I hate it. I became very bitter towards God, to the point where I started resenting you.

I resented my family, my father, resented why God made me and the things He gave me. I drive my husband up the wall because I’m angry, and I need to ask your forgiveness for deceiving you into thinking I was something I was not.

I need your prayer that the joy of the Lord would come back into my heart and I would once again feel like I’m in fellowship with Him and with you. I’m so ashamed of myself in tricking you. This is so embarrassing for me. I’m a good little actress, but my walls are down, and you know the real Jennifer.

I want you to know that I do love you, and I do love the Lord, and I’m ready to change.

NancyJennifer said, “I’m a good little actress.” But through her tears, could you sense the freedom that was coming to her heart as she said, “Now you know the real me”?

It’s hard work keeping up a mask. It’s hard work pretending. It will wear you outWe've got a lot of worn-our Christians out there. And there's a freedom that comes from getting honest; from saying, "Here's who I really am."

So when the light of God’s presence scrutinizes your life and your life is held up to the light, would God say that your life is sincere, without hypocrisy, without wax, no pretending, no impersonating, no acting, just real, clean and pure before Him?

If not, walk into the light. Be honest with God. Say, “I’ve been a hypocrite. I’ve been play acting, but I want to get real. I want to be honest. I want to be just who I am, and I want You to change me into who You want me to be.”

O Lord, how I pray that You would send a revival of honesty to our hearts, to our homes, to our churches—that we would stop pretending. Forgive us, O Lord, for our hypocrisy, for acting like everything’s okay and we’re doing fine, when we’re covering up anger and bitterness and sensuality and impurity and lust and covetousness and idolatry.

O Lord, help us to get real before You, to be sincere and honest. And what we bring into the light, then You are able, by the blood of Jesus, to cleanse, to wash, and to make new. Would You do that, Lord, in our hearts? I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: God offers freedom to anybody struggling to keep up pretenses. Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on the crucial topic of honesty.

I’ll just slip in here to say, if today’s program has been helpful, I hope you’ll experience more honesty in your life by getting a copy of Nancy’s workbook Seeking Him. The section on honesty will walk you through a process of change.

It will show you what the Bible says on this topic and help you identify areas where you’re not being entirely forthright. Seeking Him covers other important topics too, like repentance, humility, and sexual purity.

If you contact us today, April 25, we’ll send you Seeking Him as our thank you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.  

Nancy’s back with more on honesty.

Nancy: If you’ve done any airline travel since 09–11–01, you know that security has really been heightened, and they have those ever-present metal detectors. It seems like every place you go, you’re having to go through some new type of security.

They’re looking for things on your person: “Take off your shoes; take off your jacket; open up your pockets." Your baggage is going to be inspected. We’ve got sophisticated X-ray equipment. They want to know what’s on the inside, what you might be trying to hide, what you might be trying to cover, and what you might be pretending about.

Well, today I’m going to invite us together to go through God’s X-ray equipment—His is far more sophisticated than anything the airport system can come up with—and let God search our hearts. We’re talking about honesty: not just telling the truth, but living the truth. Speaking truth in our innermost part.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is alive; it’s active; it’s powerful; it’s sharper than any two-edged sword; it pierces to the division of soul and spirit.

How can you divide between soul and spirit? Do you think you could see where the division is between soul and spirit? But the Word of God penetrates into those fine points and parts of our hearts.

It discerns between joints and marrow. It discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The Word of God exposes what I’m really thinking, my motives, who I really am. Verse 13, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

I want us to talk about living honestly before God. Living, as one writer said, “with the roof off in our relationship with God and with the walls down in our relationship with others.” That’s an honest, transparent, humble heart that God can revive.

First of all, the roof off: being honest with God. What do we need to be honest with God about? About our true spiritual condition. About what we’re really like. About who we really are.

You remember Jacob in the Old Testament. His name means “deceiver.” He was a conniver; he was a manipulator from the womb. I mean, he came out conniving and scheming.

He deceived his brother, you remember, about the birthright. Then he deceived his father. We read that account in Genesis 27. Jacob was going in as the second-born child to claim the blessing that his father Isaac intended to give to the firstborn son, Esau.

But Isaac was old; he was blind. He couldn’t see, and Jacob had covered his bases. He knew how to pretend to be the brother that he wasn’t.

Genesis 27:18 says, “He went in to his father and said, ‘My father.’ And [his father] said, ‘Here I am. Who are you, my son?’” Important question. “Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn’” (v. 19).

He did what he’d been doing all his life—deceiving, lying, pretending to be something he wasn’t. “I’m Esau.”

Who are you? I am Esau. “I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” Jacob had an agenda. He was after getting what he wanted, and in order to get his agenda, he had to play act to fulfill that agenda.

Now move forward, years later, and you come to the scene where Jacob is wrestling with the angel of God, Genesis 32:24–30. Remember, it’s the middle of the night, and the angel says to Jacob, “What is your name?” (v. 27). It’s the same question his father had asked him years earlier. This time the answer is, “Jacob.”

For the first time, I think, in his life, Jacob really came out into the light, because by acknowledging who he was, he was saying, “I’m Jacob, the deceiver. I’m the one who has lied and connived and schemed and manipulated all my life. That’s who I really am.”

You see, Jacob knew he couldn’t keep lying to God. He had to come into the light. This Angel of God—a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, I believe—was wrestling him to the ground.

Jacob knew that he had lost the battle for pretending. He couldn’t keep play acting, so finally he said, “I am Jacob. That’s who I really am.” For the first time, he got honest.

I have a friend who several years ago went through a period of back-sliding. It affected his family in some really serious ways. When he came back to the Lord, he gave a testimony before his church in which he expressed what it was God had done in his life.

Steve said, "I would come to the altar and say, 'God, please help me.' But I wasn't really looking for a way out, because I knew that would mean I would have to get honest. I'd have to say, 'This is what I really am.' What I have been and what I am in my natural flesh, the truth is: I'm a liar, a thief, a conniver, and a deceiver. I'm selfish and independent and manipulative. That's what I am. That's what my flesh is. That's what my flesh will always be."

Steve broke through to revival and to God. He found God when he came out into the light and got honest about who he really was.

I think of the man who stood up in a service we were having with Life Action Ministries in a church in Texas years ago; I still remember this. The man stood up—this is a businessman—and said, “I’m a thief.”

People looked at him like, “A man’s getting up in church and saying, ‘I’m a thief’?! That’s not the place where you admit things like that!” That is the place where we should be admitting things like that, if that’s what’s true!

This man was an accountant, and he acknowledged that he had stolen from his own mother’s retirement account. He had been handling her affairs, and he got up in front of that congregation and stepped into the light and said, “I’m a thief. This is who I really am.”

As I was preparing for this series, I was looking for some files on my laptop. I came across some journal entries I made several years ago, and my mind went back to some things I had forgotten. God took me, at that point in my life, and brought me to a point of stepping into the light, getting honest.

Let me read to you a few of the things I wrote in that journal entry, as I was learning to get honest with God. I wrote,

For days, I have been walking after the flesh. I’ve been negative, critical, controlling, uptight, self-centered, and reactionary, and I know my spirit has affected those around me in unpleasant ways.

I have thought and spoken disrespectfully of God’s men. I have not esteemed them as better than myself; I have criticized their actions and questioned their hearts. I have evaluated and critiqued their messages. I have exalted myself and my opinions and demeaned others and their opinions. I have sought to control rather than to serve.

I have not restrained my tongue; I have not been a cheerleader, but a critic. I have been the foolish woman I’ve written about, who tears down her house with her hands. (I went on the express to the Lord honestly.) This is what has been going on in my heart.

Now, most of what I just read, other people would not have been aware of, but some would have been.

But first I had to get honest with God and say, “I’m controlling. I have to have it my way. I have to make sure that everybody else performs according to my standard.” I just got honest before the Lord. I want to tell you, that brought with it such freedom and release, to get honest with God.

Who are you? What’s your name? Esau or Jacob? Be honest. Are you angry? Are you a liar? Are you immoral?

Maybe you’re unconverted, sitting in church looking like a good Christian, but you’ve never been born again? Selfish? Addicted? We’re talking about motives, values, attitudes, behavior, character.

Walk into God’s X-ray machine. Let Him turn on the light, and get honest with Him. Say, “Lord, search my heart. Show me what You see. And whatever You see, whatever You say, I will agree with You.”

Lord, we do pray, search us; try us; turn on Your light in our hearts. Help us to agree with the truth—no pretending, no covering, no faking, no play acting, just being honest, real, and pure-hearted before You. Just to know that all is well between their soul and the Savior, in their marriage, in their home, in their workplace. Just to know that they are walking in obedience to You.

Thank You, Lord, that as You search us, You also cleanse us by the blood of Jesus. May that be the experience of each of us in this place. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: It’s easy to slip on a mask, to give a false impression. Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminds us how much freedom comes when you take off the mask and get real with God.

Nancy’s written on the joy of honesty in her workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. This workbook will walk you through important aspects of revival. You’ll see the need for humility and honesty. You’ll catch a glimpse of the joy of purity and holiness.  You’ll discover the power to live for God’s glory through His Spirit. 

If you contact us today, April 25, we’ll send you the Seeking Him workbook as our thank you when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Without your support, Revive Our Hearts wouldn’t come to you each weekday. But with the support of our listeners, we’re able to be on the air in the U.S. and Latin America. And women around the world are hearing Revive Our Hearts over the web. 

Ask for Seeking Him when you call with your gift of any size. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com

On Monday, we’ll hear about what it means to have a total makeover—not a makeover that focuses on hair, makeup and clothes. But a makeover moving from inside out. Please 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.

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