When We Get Honest

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” (Luke 8:15 NLT)

Nothing of eternal value is ever gained dishonestly. Lying to ourselves or others about the things of God, whether it relates to our daily disciplines as a believer, or as basic as to whether we’re even saved. Joe Holland said: “Faith is being honest with ourselves about God. Repentance is being honest with God about ourselves.” 

We can fool ourselves into believing we must be okay with God because we have “faith” in Him. We may be living like the devil and think we have everyone at church fooled because we’ve learned to “talk the talk,” but God’s opinion of us is the only one that really matters. If our “faith” isn’t reflected in the way we think, illustrated by the way we live, we need to rethink our relationship with God.

Faith is essential, not only in our coming to the Lord, but as we learn to live day by day in submission to God’s directives. Repentance begins with a change in the way we think. Before we’re forgiven and given a new, clean heart, our thoughts of ourselves can be easily distorted to believe we’re far better than we are. So, the Lord gives us a filter through which we’re able to, not only see ourselves from a much more accurate perspective, but that enables us to see God more clearly.

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That clearer vision of ourselves should lead us to a more disciplined and obedient life, which over time becomes more and more conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Ideally, as we grow in closeness to the Lord our life should reflect more accurately, glimpses of Jesus. On some levels it’s like pictures we take on vacation of the beautiful things we see and experience.

There’s just no way to capture everything we saw and felt, but we take snapshots that remind us of the magnificence we experienced. I took a lot of pictures of the Grand Canyon, but even with all the pictures and even movies I took, nothing compares to sitting on a rock so high up people look like specks, watching the sun set.

We can’t ever approximate the likeness of Jesus in this life, but we can give people “snapshots” of Him that can encourage them to experience Him for themselves. But we must continually be honest, not only with ourselves regarding our efforts in living our life for the Lord, but with our expectations of, not only what God expects of us, but of what we expect of God.

J.D. Greear wrote: “There is no ‘and’ in the gospel. There is faith in what Christ has done plus ‘nothing else’ that saves.” There is a sometimes-delicate balance between what God expects us to do for ourselves and what He has done and will continue to do in, through, and on our behalf. Salvation is a gift from God and there’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve it.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9: “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

If we’re to be honest with ourselves, we must maintain a healthy balance between faith and repentance. Both are our life-long companions. Faith is the anchor that enables us to grip Jesus with all our might, knowing that apart from Him we are nothing, and apart from Him we can do nothing. Coupled by an attitude of determination that is always listening carefully to our Master’s voice, ready to immediately change our mind and/or direction in order to more fully and completely yield to His desires.

The more closely we walk with Jesus the more honest we’ll be with ourselves and Him, resulting in more fruitfulness to His honor and fame.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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