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How transparent are you with God?
The question may seem non sequitur considering that God, the omniscient creator of all life, inherently comprehends everything that can possibly be known about us (Psalm 139:1-3; Hebrews 4:13). Nevertheless, there is something to be said about the degree to which we desire (or not) to be intimately known by a God who already knows us intimately.
The Necessity for Transparency
Our postmodern world has convinced us that as human beings we are lacking in nothing; that to the extent we are deficient in anything, especially spiritually, the answers to such paucity lie solely within ourselves.
We think to ourselves, who needs God when there’s nothing wrong with me to begin with?
In Genesis 3:1-8 we find the familiar account of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – a story with which we are all familiar. Adam and Even disobeyed God and subsequently tried to hide themselves – and their sin – from Him. Notwithstanding the eternal ramifications to humankind of their actions, that Adam and Eve actually believed they could conceal themselves from an all-knowing, ever-present God is concerning in itself.
“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
In hindsight one might ask, what on earth were Adam and Eve thinking? What possible advantage could they have thought they would have over the God who created the trees among which they were attempting to hide? Had it not occurred to them that the One who placed them in the Garden in the first place was thoroughly familiar with every blade of grass growing within it, and that the very idea of hiding from Him was utterly futile in its conception?
Don’t answer too quickly.
As much as the aforementioned questions may highlight the fallen character of Adam and Eve, do they not also shine an unwanted light on our own nature as well? Indeed they do. It is a two-edged sword. Which is why being completely open and honest with God is so necessary. Not so God can better know us, but so we can better know ourselves and our desperate need to be delivered by Him from the spiritual depravity passed down to us from our progenitors thousands of years ago.
“The heart is a maze that only God can solve. We modestly admit we can’t know someone else’s heart, but the truth is we can’t even know our own.” – Kris Lundgaard
Our heart is so inherently deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), it is incessant in its efforts to convince us that hiding from God is not only possible but feasible.
Conversely, our flesh is so innately corrupt (Romans 7:18) that it readily believes the lies our heart tells us. It is a pattern that plays itself out with Adam and Eve on at least two separate occasions: 1. when Eve unwisely engages in a discourse with the serpent at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and both she and her husband decide to eat from it (Genesis 3:1-6), and 2. when they naively endeavor to hide themselves from the presence of God, having experienced for the first time in human history the heart-penetrating sting of the guilt of sin (Genesis 3:7-8).
We have a proneness to want to expose to others what we consider to be the more appealing aspects about ourselves. We will not hesitate to post a selfie (or five) so that those who “follow” or “friend” us on social media are aware of how beautiful, talented, and successful we are (or want to appear to be). We are less inclined, however, to parade in front of those same followers and friends who we know our true selves to be – on the inside – in our heart (Mark 7:20-23).
Why is that?
Because, like our first parents, we dare not let anyone else to know about us what we know about ourselves.
The Benefits of Transparency
What is interesting, if not ironic, about Adam and Eve wanting to hide themselves from God is they were motivated by a fear that God would actually keep His promise to them (Genesis 2:17).
Think about it for a moment.
Notwithstanding the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, who in their proverbial “right mind” would fear a God who always does what He says? Isn’t keeping His promises what we want God to do?
Don’t answer too quickly.
One would think such rectitude would be admirable in someone who declares himself to be “God” and, conversely, by anyone who professes to believe in him, would it not? Or, could it be that it is only selected promises that we want God to bring to fruition in our lives, ones that deal with His mercy not His discipline, that touch on His faithfulness and not on our inconstancy. We sing songs like, “Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry. While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” But, more often than not, they are words that proceed from our lips only in terms of how we desire God to bless us. If God is not blessing me, then He has my permission to just keep it moving, thank you very much.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” – Psalm 32:8 (NASB)
What we often fail to realize is that even when we sin, the last thing we need is to be concealed from God’s sight. It is an irrational, unbiblical response that is rooted in fear (2 Timothy 1:7); the same fear that tricked Adam and Eve into believing they could hide themselves from Him.
I doubt there exists a more nonsensical proposition than the idea that anything could possibly be hidden from an omniscient God. But, you see, that’s how the heart works. It possesses such finesse as to so distort the truth of God, that we view transparency with Him as being punitive as opposed to beneficial.
“God’s terrible majesty is radiation. It X-rays a soul and shows that it is gorged with sin. The soul sees what God is like in His glory, sees what it is like in its sickness, and buries its face in the dirt. Then the healing starts. God’s radiating majesty kills the rotten marrow of sin and replaces it with humility. A heart humbled by God’s terrible majesty can begin its recovery and grow strong. Sin cannot thrive in a humble heart.” – Kris Lundgaard
When we are transparent with God, we experience the blessings of being:
- brought to a place of deeper trust in Him (Psalm 91:2)
- reminded that we are loved unconditionally by Him (1 John 4:10)
- restored to a right relationship with Him (1 John 1:9)
- assured that we can fearlessly bring our petitions before Him (1 John 3:21-22)
- reminded of the absolute seriousness of our sin to Him (Romans 3:23)
The God of the Bible is personal, approachable, and knowable (Matthew 11:28).
Knowing this, our sin should prompt us to run to God (Proverbs 18:10) not from Him (as did Adam and Eve). To try and hide from God is the ultimate exercise in futility. It is the spiritual equivalent of running on a treadmill, only instead of losing the weight of our sinfulness we retain it – all of it – regardless how much self-effort we put into it (John 8:24; Ephesians 2:1-3).
God knows us infinitely better than we could ever know ourselves (Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13); and only complete transparency with an omniscient God will bring us the true and lasting joy, happiness, and freedom that we all desperately desire and seek.
Humbly in Christ,