We had a great time at the Joyce Meyer Conference but good things much eventually end. We went into the parking lot and we were stuck. It took an hour to just leave the parking lot. With all that time to fill, my sister and were singing some worship songs. But we also decided to remove her worn steering wheel cover. I tried to pull it and it would not budge. My sister helped. With the two of us, it still would not pop off of the steering wheel. Finally I let out a war cry, which I’ll admit sounded like a sad dog growl. Just at that moment there was a group of people passing by and a fellow heard my sad sound. He said, “Don’t worry. I haven’t seen a thing. No one has seen it happen” and kept walking.
I’ll admit I got a bit flushed with embarrassment but then I was reminded of the need for transparency and realness in this world. We spend so much time trying to pretend we don’t make certain noises, we don’t do particular things, we don’t watch “those shows,” we don’t listen to “that music.” We spend a lot of time trying to pretend we are “good Christians” or “good people” or “happy” or that we have it all together.
Guess what?!? I make weird screaming sounds as I remove steering wheel covers. Sometimes I think bad things. Sometimes I don’t make the best choice because I don’t listen and I want what I want. Sometimes I get angry at other drivers. Sometimes I spill coffee on my shirt and don’t change my shirt because it blends in. Stop trying to appear perfect. Stop trying to appear that you have everything together. God sees you when no one else can see you and God can see your heart. Don’t worry about what others think about you or how you appear—ask God to give you eyes for Him. Ask God to help you focus on Him and not on the world. Through your transparency and your desire to please God and God alone, there will be a testimony to others. It will be a much better story than anything you could pretend to tell. It will be the truth and it will point to the Truth.
“Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NLT]
Working in the medical field for ten years, I often heard the term “consul.” Short for consultation, it simply meant that a person needed to see a doctor for an examination to make any further care decisions, many times from a specialist. Now in Joshua 9, the people were visited by the Gibeonites who were very deceptive. Gibeon had heard what the Lord had done for the Israelites and decided to make it appear as if they traveled from a far off land.
Their deception worked. The Israelites looked at what the Gibeonites had—old looking wine skins and moldy stale bread. It appeared that they did travel from a great distance. “They examined… but they DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD.” That was a big problem. We should examine. We should use the minds that God has given us. But first, ALWAYS FIRST, we need to consult God. Consulting Him will always be more important than anything we can come to understand on our own.
Don’t neglect your consul. Consult the Lord. Examining things alone is not enough. In a day when we have a world full of Gibeonites trying to deceive us, to make up their own truth, it is vital that we contact the One who can point us to the God’s Truth – the Absolute Truth.
“So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD.”– Joshua 9:14 [NLT]
We typically take whatever effort we can to not let people see us for who we really are, and to keep up the image we want people to have of us. I saw a neighbour attempting to walk out in his pajamas to get the newspaper. When he noticed that I was fast approaching, he ran back into his home and hid in wait until I passed by, only to then walk out quickly to grab his morning paper. He was wearing pajamas and a robe, but he didn’t want anyone to notice. I guess he assumes people believe he doesn’t wear sleepwear to sleep, or that perhaps he does not even sleep at all. Later I noticed a pre-teen boy fall at the bus stop. He cowered and went by himself to another area because he did not want his friends to see him crying because of the pain he was feeling.
Jesus called the Pharisees white washed tombs because they were spiritually dead inside. They knew all about the Law, down the fine print; however, their hearts were dead. They liked to put on this facade for everyone, making it look as if they were high, upstanding individuals. The truth is that God sees our hearts. He sees what is going on even if we hide behind our screen doors, waiting to make a dash for the paper. He sees that we are crying when we try to hide our face. He sees everything that we do at every moment of our lives. We can pretend with everyone else, but there is no pretending with God.
I find it amazing that God loves me so much despite the fact that He has seen everything I have ever done, and that He also knows what I will do next but does not leave my side. I have found that rather than spend the extra time trying to hide and pretend, that when we are transparent, when we let people see everything, there is a great peace in our lives. Being transparent also allows God’s light to shine through so much brighter. People can see God at work in your life.
I pray that you are able to be more transparent today. I hope that if you are hiding things in your life and trying hard to live up to a particular image, that you let go of the facade and focus on the Truth. God thinks you are awesome despite the flaws. Let God help you and work in your life; don’t hide.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’”
– 1 Samuel 16:7 [ESV]
I recently moved and I’ve had to make a lot of phone calls to get some things organized. I noticed that while I was getting everything in order, that I hesitated to make the telephone calls. I looked to see if I could contact people online instead of making the actually physical phone calls. When I had to initiate my internet, I decided to active online. When I had difficulties, I even chatted with a representative because I felt it would be quicker and not eat up my cell phone minutes. At the same time, I really did not want to be on the telephone.
I didn’t find anything to be a problem until I noted that I had some things left to do, and everything on the list was what needed actual telephone calls. I had avoided making the calls. I was disconnected. This was something we spoke about in my media ministry course last semester. Our society has gotten so accustomed to communicating online and with technology that there is this great lack of people being connected with people. We even send a text message or chat on Facebook with people who are in the same room.
I am not against technology. I love technology. However, I think that we need to make sure that we do not spend so much time with technology that we try so hard to not connect with people in person and on the telephone. Sometimes people need to know that a real person cares about them, that another actual human being was thinking about them enough to take the time to call or to stop by for a visit.
I see a lot of images on Facebook depicting a cell phone screen shot showing God calling or sending a text message. The image is accompanied with the question on whether a person would answer and respond or not. I like that image because it makes a statement about society– that we are very much into technology– but that God meets us where we are at in life. At the same time, I believe He also would stop by and visit. He would sit with you and spend the afternoon together. He would call and send a text message. God wants to be connected to you. In John 15, Jesus speaks about the need for the disciples to stay connected to the vine. If the branches are unattached, they will not bear fruit.
Today you might be busy, overwhelmed with a list of things to do that surely will take you most of the day. You may not think you have the time to visit or call anyone. Perhaps you are tired and simply don’t feel like taking the initiative. I challenge you to make some time, visit or call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile, and simply enjoy their company. You may need the call more than they do. Also, spend time with God. Remember the branch cannot do much when unattached to the vine. He’s always available!
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:9-10 [NLT]
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 [NASB]