Posted by Anne Witton on Sunday, January 1, 2023 Under: Reflections
How honest can you be with God? Do you feel like you can tell him everything? Or do you feel the need to hide parts of your life?
I sometimes think that our church culture doesn’t help foster real intimacy with God. Often at the start of a church service the leader will say something like, “Whatever’s been happening during the week or whatever is on your mind, put it aside so that we can focus on God”. This can give the impression that God’s not interested in our Monday – Saturday life. That he’s not involved in all the joys, pains, confusion, fun and depth of our work, family and social life.
Don’t get me wrong, there is sometimes a time for leaving aside the things that are playing on our mind and focusing on God’s character and why he’s worth worshipping. But I think sometimes we give the impression that God isn’t interested in the little details of our lives or our inner shameful secrets. We can end up cultivating a culture where it feels like we can’t be honest with God corporately or individually. We fail to disciple people in how to be completely honest and vulnerable with God, sharing with him all the hidden depths of our hearts.
Occasionally the church leader may give a time of quiet to reflect on the week and bring it to God, but it usually barely lasts ten seconds (believe me, I’ve timed it) and isn’t nearly an adequate length of time to do real business with the Lord. (Sometimes when I’ve been leading a service, I’ve left it a whole two minutes and it doesn’t half make people feel uncomfortable). We need to have time and space in our corporate gatherings to have unhurried communion with God. Silence, reflection and prayer stations can all help us with this.
Because honesty with God really matters. This is particularly important in the areas of sexual sin and sexual temptation. These things are often harder to be honest with other people about, but we must be honest with God about them. He isn’t going to be shocked or angry as he already knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalm 44: 21), but he is the only one who can fully understand and fully restore.
We can’t cultivate an intimate relationship with him without honesty and it takes time. God is everywhere (Psalm 139: 7) and sees everything so it doesn’t make sense to try and hide anything from him. I once remember telling a friend that I pray in the shower and she seemed pretty shocked. I responded that he sees me anyway so I might as well talk to him (Genesis 16: 13).
Failing to bring all of our anxieties and concerns to God increases the danger that will try and deal with these things ourselves in order to present a cleaned-up version of ourselves to our Saviour and our church family. This is antithetical to the gospel. We know that we’re all strugglers who need God to intervene in every area of our lives. Scripture says, ”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 7). Let’s develop the habit of being honest with God about everything and enjoy the spiritual transformation that follows.
In : Reflections