Activate - August 28


COURAGEOUS TRANSPARENCY
 
Passage: Psalm 139:1-4
 
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
 
Insight:
 
I woke up one morning and decided to wear a T-shirt as an undershirt. There was writing and a design on the shirt, but it was not visible to the human eye because I had a dark- colored sweater over it. I forgot about the T-shirt until I walked in front of a security camera. The screen that was linked to the camera showed the design of my T-shirt. The camera made visible what I thought was hidden! It startled me, and it was a little unnerving. Have you ever thought something was private only to learn that it was actually very evident to other people? Fortunately, the picture on my T- shirt that appeared was just the wings of an eagle, so there was no reason to be embarrassed. The experience made me think about how God can see through anything, and nothing is hidden before Him.
 
Why do we try to hide parts of our lives from God? Living in Dallas, Texas, for four years introduced me to supersized cockroaches. Yes, one of these bugs literally woke me up one night as it was having a good time exploring my garbage can. On another occasion, I grabbed my phone early in the morning, without looking first, and I felt a cockroach slither out from underneath my hand. Have you ever touched one? I don't recommend it. My immediate reaction was to turn on my lamp. The cockroach climbed underneath my bookshelf, preferring the darkness. Strangely, this incident became a spiritual metaphor for me. My cockroach encounter was a visible reminder that God calls us out of darkness and helps us run to His marvelous light. I don’t want to live like a cockroach!
 
Do you ever try to put limits on God by attempting to keep certain parts of your life private from Him? David wrote this psalm as he came to grips with the truth that all thoughts, all actions, all habits, all preferences, and all words are visible and known to God all of the time. This is a reality we often ignore. It is both comforting and uncomfortable at the same time. It is comforting because there is One who really understands and loves us!
 
It can be humbling though to know that none of our actions or thoughts can be hidden. Ultimately, this combination is what makes us appreciate how abundant God’s mercy and grace truly is. Recognizing the depth and totality of His grace produces a wonderful security for our souls. We can begin to live in true freedom which includes the desire to please the One who has brought us real love. Underneath our fears, we realize that we are both fully known and also fully accepted by God, thanks to Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf.
 
Application:
 
Transparency can be a complicated topic. Is transparency good? Who can you trust? What are the benefits of being open and honest? I have been on retreats and at camps where people begin to open up and share things about their lives they had never shared before. As a listener, you realize that it is a privilege to be included in their confidences. If it is done well, the one who shares can experience a release of burdens and begin a deep healing. There can be significant spiritual insights and positive life choices made when the environment is supportive.
 
Here are some important things to keep in mind about opening up:
 
1) Before you start sharing make sure the setting is appropriate and the listeners can be trusted. Don’t give gossips and dangerous people too much access to your life.
 
2) It will be scary to share the more destructive choices you make. We often stay private because we don’t want to change; sinful habits don’t survive very well in the light. It’s often said that revealing is the first step toward healing.
 
3) It may help you to first write down the things you have kept hidden. Pray about what to do with the information. Consider who in your life is safe to talk to. Be courageous when the listener and timing is right.
 
4) Remember how God views you and find security in it. Before you talk with anyone else, know that Jesus wants to extend His grace to you. Let that sink in before and after you talk to someone.
 
Questions:
 
1) Are there any parts of your life that you are trying to hide from God?
2) What areas of your life can you begin to start sharing with God?
3) Is there anything that would be good to tell someone?
4) When is privacy a good thing?
 
Deeper Study:
 
Psalm 62. It is good to pour your heart out to God in prayer.
Psalm 32. An honest relationship with God includes deep confession.
1 Corinthians 14:24-25. Nothing is hidden from God; His presence reveals us.
James 5:16. It is healing to admit mistakes and yet still receive God’s love.
3 John 1:2-4. A healthy soul is even more important than a healthy body.
 
Prayer:
 
Gracious God, I’m so glad that You know me fully and still love me. I find my security in You and Your acceptance of me. And it gives me courage to be more open and honest with people I can trust. I want to be authentic and not live a double life. I want to be a Christian who has integrity before You and other people. I pray for Your help in Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more from Pastor Jesse Bradley and Activate Media Ministries, visit www.activatelife.org

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