Seeking Him: HonestyNo Secrets
Leslie Basham: There’s really no such thing as a secret sin according to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The thing you’re hiding from your husband, the thing you think he’ll never find out, the thing you’re hiding from your parents, the way you’ve sinned against a boss and stolen time or money or possessions or whatever, the thing you did fifteen years ago, the thing that you thought was so little but it gnaws at your conscience, if you don’t bring it into the light and confess it, it’s coming out someday.
Leslie: It’s Thursday, April 24, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Today we’ll hear some core Revive Our Hearts material. Nancy wrote about it in the workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. One chapter of that book is on honesty, and she’s here to teach on this topic that’s practical for all of us. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy: I don’t know if you ever did this when you were a child, but I can distinctly remember playing “let’s pretend” games. My two favorite pretend games to play were school and church. Of course, I wanted to be the teacher or the preacher. I was a controlling child and some things die hard. Of course, I’m the oldest of seven children, so we had a built-in classroom or congregation.
As I grew up, I began to realize that a lot of grownups are still playing “let’s pretend” games. One of the ones we play most often is let’s pretend we’re a Christian. Play church. Play Christian. I realize that the little bit of playacting we did when we were children just kind of takes on some different forms as we become adults.
As we continue through this process of seeking Him and asking God to revive our hearts, we want to experience the joy of personal revival. We’re talking about some foundational building blocks here, some foundational principles, and that’s what we’re going to talk about this week, the principle of honesty. Honesty. Being transparent and open and honest before God and before others about the true condition of our hearts—not playacting, not pretending, but being real.
Now, let me ask you to turn in your Bibles to the book of Psalms if you would. I want us to see a number of passages in the Psalms that talk about the importance of being open and honest before God. If we’re going to meet with God, we’ve got to get rid of the masks, quit pretending, quit playing, and get real.
Psalm chapter 15, first of all. Psalm 15, verses 1 and 2. This is a psalm of David. He’s talking about approaching the Lord, getting close to God. He says,
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.
It’s interesting that he doesn’t end the sentence with “he just speaks truth” because you think of speaking truth as something you do outwardly. But David is saying, no, this is something more than speaking truth outwardly. It’s where communication begins, and that’s in the heart. God lets the person draw near to Him, to dwell in His holy hill, who speaks truth in his heart. The person who at the core is telling the truth, acknowledging the truth about who he really is. He’s not pretending. He’s not playacting. He’s real.
Turn over a few pages to Psalm 24, and you’ll see the same principle beginning in verse 3.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD.
The person who is holy, has clean hands and a pure heart, and the person again who doesn’t lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He doesn’t profess one thing and live something differently. He doesn't act one way but have something different in his heart. He's not making a profession that is fake. It is a profession that is real; that reflects what is really in his heart.
Turn over to Psalm 32 and you see the same principle there. You remember when David sinned his great sin of adultery and murder as related to Bathsheba and her husband. This is one of the psalms that David wrote afterwards expressing the process that God took him through from covering his sin to uncovering his sin; from walking in deceitfulness to walking in honesty.
He says in verse 1, Psalm 32, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Who’s going to cover that sin? We’re going to see in this passage if we cover the sin, we’re not blessed. But if we bring it out into the light, then God will cover it. There’s a difference between God covering my sin and me covering my sin.
What we’re going to talk about this week is the danger and the problem that comes about when we try to cover our own sin. We’re going to see that we need to be open and honest with God and at times with others about what we have done, how we have failed, so that God can then cover our sins.
So he says the one whose sin God covers, that person is blessed. The one whose transgression is forgiven. It’s wiped out. It’s covered over. “Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (v. 2). No double-mindedness. No pretending. No playacting. No hypocrisy. That person is blessed.
Then he says in verse 3, I didn’t always experience that blessing. He says, “When I kept silent [when I refused to speak the truth about my sin to God and to others], my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.”
That’s a picture of God’s conviction. If you don’t understand that phrase, it may mean that you are not a child of God because if you are a child of God, you have experienced times when God’s conviction was so heavy upon you over your sin that you didn’t think you could breath.
“Day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” What happened in verse 5? “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity.”
See, this is a change of heart. Initially, he said I kept silent. I didn’t want anybody to know what I had done. I covered up my sin. I kept silent about it. But then after Your conviction was so heavy up on me, I couldn’t take it any longer. I stepped out into the light.
I said, “I’m coming clean. I’m getting honest. I acknowledged my sin to You.” Look how many times you see this concept. “I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’”
That’s what confession is—acknowledging the truth, agreeing with God. No more hiding, no more covering, no pretending, no faking, no trying to leave a better impression on others or on God. Isn’t that a foolish thing to think that we could leave a better impression on God than is honestly true. He sees it all. He knows it all. But truthfulness about our sin, truthfulness about our spiritual condition requires confession. Saying what God says about our sin, "I did it." No more hiding; no more covering.
You see, God will cover with the blood of Christ and with His mercy and His forgiveness everything that we are willing to uncover. But everything that we cover, God will be forced to uncover and expose. Now would you rather uncover it and let God cover it up, or would you rather hold onto it covered up and force God to uncover and expose it?
Proverbs 28, verse 13, is such a pivotal verse here, a key verse. “Whoever conceals his transgressions [some of your translations say ‘he that covers his sin’] will not prosper." Get it in you mind. Mark it down. This is true.
This is as true as the law of gravity. You jump out of a building, you will fall to the ground. You cover your sin, you will not prosper. You will not be blessed. If you are covering up things in your life that need to be confessed, that need to be acknowledged, if you are covering sin.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses [that’s the opposite of concealing; no more hiding, no more pretending, no more covering, but confessing] and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Listen, I’ll tell you ladies and this helps motivate me to walk into the light, to live a life of transparent honesty, is to realize that it’s all coming out someday anyway. All coming out in the judgment.
The thing you’re hiding from your husband, the thing you think he’ll never find out, the thing you’re hiding from your parents, the way you’ve sinned against a boss and stolen time or money or possessions or whatever, the thing you did fifteen years ago, the thing that you thought was so little but it gnaws at your conscience, if you don’t bring it into the light and confess it, it’s coming out someday.
There’s so many Scriptures that tell us that. Luke chapter 12, verse 2, Jesus said, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Now you think about the secret hidden parts of your life, your past, your present, an emotional entanglement that you’re involved in on the Internet, an email relationship. It’s happening by droves with Christian women.
You think you’re hiding. You think you’re covering. You think your husband will never find out. Jesus said nothing is covered up that will not be revealed. Nothing is hidden that will not be known.
Hebrews chapter 4, verse 13, tells the kind of God that we’re dealing with. It says, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” We will give account. Now that’s a frightening thing unless you learn to live now in light of final judgment, to live now in light of eternity.
One of the marked characteristics of seasons of revival in history, times of the great awakenings, is that people were often overwhelmed with a sense of eternity, a sense of judgment. They came under such conviction that sins that they had been hiding, things they had thought were small or inconsequential now became enormous in their eyes.
They began to cry out to God in confession and, where needed, to those that they had sinned against in confession as well and to say, "I have sinned. I’m not the person you thought I was. I’ve been a hypocrite. I’ve been a fake. I’m not this great Christian you always thought I was." They got honest about their sin with God and with others.
We are so church trained, house trained, if you will, in our churches, to cover, to pretend. We go to church. We shakes everybody's hand. We hug each other and say, "How are you doing?" "Fine." Everybody's fine.
The fact is, most people aren't fine. Most of us are struggling throughout the week with sinful habits, with temptations, with things we are being defeated by. We've been yelling at our kids all week. We've been indulging our flesh all week. Then we come to church and put on our church clothes and we are all . . . fine? What are we doing? We are playing church. We are playing Christian. We're pretending. We are masquerading, playacting.
If you want to experience true revival, you’ve got to be willing to get honest, to get honest with God, to get honest with your mate, to get honest with others. It can be, I’ll admit, costly to confess. It can be painful to come out into the light and to get honest. But I want to tell you this: It’s far more costly to cover in the long run, far more costly to pretend, to deceive.
In the other psalm that David wrote as a penitent after his great sin, Psalm 51, verse 6, he says to God, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,” in the hidden parts, in the innermost part of my heart (NKJV).
So I want to ask you:
- What are you covering?
- What are you hiding?
- What are you hoping nobody will find out?
It may not be any great, big, huge sin as people measure sins, but if there is something in your life or some things that you haven’t come clean about with God and with the people affected by it, if you’re covering your sin, God’s Word says you will not prosper. God says He desires, He longs for, He insists on truth in the inward heart.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with more on a topic that affects everybody. Honesty.
Nancy wrote about this crucial topic in the workbook, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.
When you go through this workbook, you’ll see what personal revival looks like. You’ll know what it’s like to be free from guilt and condemnation. You’ll know what it is to live your life through God’s power working in you.
Today and tomorrow, April 24 and 25, we’ll send you the Seeking Him workbook when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit