The word this week is: transparency. The definition of transparent is to be able to be seen through, easy to notice or understand, honest and open, not secretive. As followers of Christ, we are called to be transparent. I Corinthians 13:4 states, “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” The Apostle Paul continues the description of what love looks like, and what love doesn’t look like, and ends in verse 13 with the words “Love never fails.”
You may be wondering how the two tie together, transparency and love? Love cannot exist without transparency. Look at the definition again for transparent and instead of “transparent” exchange the word “love”. Love is able to be seen through, easy to notice or understand, love is honest and open, love is not secretive.
So how transparent are we with God? Psalm 139:4 reminds us “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.” And yet, we continue to be dishonest with God about our sin, our feelings, our thoughts, our relationships, etc. So how can we say that we “love” God when we are so focused on ourselves and won’t get close enough to Him to enter a relationship? There is no love without relationship! There may be an emotional feeling, but it is not from God; it is a lie from the enemy. Why would I say that? Because to “be in love” with someone we must be willing to expose ourselves to another; our habits, our financials, our possessions, our likes, our desires, our dreams, and to also be open to receiving from the one we “love” - learning what they like, their dreams, their desires. This is true on a human level, as we’ve just read, but it is also on a spiritual level with God.
Immediately the verse Isaiah 61:10 came into my mind: “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (emphasis mine) What is the robe of righteousness? It is to be clothed in integrity and blameless conduct. It describes the wearer as someone who performs justice, has the right attitude (mind of Christ) and chooses right actions (obedience to God). and puts on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:24, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
I heard the Lord say to me that no one can enter into this new life if they are unwilling to leave the old life. That is exactly what the Apostle Paul was communicating to us when he stated, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I believe this is where transparency is so important, and why God is wanting us to personally take a look at ourselves so that we are not deceived as to our salvation. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
There’s a powerful example in I Samuel 15 that we need to study to clearly understand God’s perspective. It’s a story of King Saul. He wasn’t the obvious choice as king, but God chose him because as stated in the scripture, “he was little in his own eyes”. Keep that phrase in mind and ask God to reveal His heart regarding that mindset regarding our own hearts. With the mind of Christ, this will begin to bring fresh revelation in reading the Word.
‘Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ (1 Samuel 15:3) (emphasis mine) God was very specific in His instructions and left no room for misunderstanding. Notice that God didn’t go into a long explanation as to why He wanted the Amalek utterly destroyed.That is where trust comes in. And the closer we grow to the Lord, we know that since He is for us and is always looking out for our good, we understand that He sees ahead and is protecting us from future disaster. Can we agree that God was transparent when He told Saul what his assignment was?
But in verses 7-9, we learn that Saul didn’t follow God’s plan, let’s read it. “So Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:7-9) (emphasis mine)
“Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal. Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the command of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 15:12-13) (emphasis mine)
Remember when we started talking about Saul that the Lord had selected him because “he was little in his own eyes”? There are so many things wrong here, so much of God’s instructions that were disobeyed, yet Saul declares “I have carried out the command of the Lord”! He also didn’t build an altar to worship God, he built a monument to congratulate himself and to make sure everyone gave him the credit! Listen to God’s judgment on Saul’s actions. “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” ...
King Saul defended his actions and made them sound “very religious and spiritual”. Twice he stated that the “people” spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord (verses 15 and 20). But the most powerful statement is in verse 20 when Saul stated to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord”. How could he say that? In his mind, he obeyed because he did “go on the mission, he brought back the Amalek king and he destroyed the rest of the men, women and children. Partial obedience is non-obedience! And to proclaim otherwise is pure deception. Let me share what the Lord showed me one night when He woke me up and wanted me to write down His words. He had me write down the word PRIDE. He then had me circle the “I” and then said that the “I in the middle of pride is the sin because it is now all about us and not about Him.” Unfortunately, it is not an isolated offence, it taints everything we do, say and who we are. It takes us far from being the vessel that God desires. Go back and read verse 11 again, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” ...
Some may disagree with my statement above regarding the separation from God and not being a vessel that God would want to use, so let’s read scripture to see God’s perspective, “Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23) (emphasis mine)
What is divination? Witchcraft! What is insubordination? Refusal to obey God.
We can deceive ourselves and others around us, but we cannot deceive God, He sees our heart. What is even worse, Saul did finally agree with Samuel that he had sinned, but he never repented! Even after Samuel had told him that God’s anointing was no longer on him as being His king.
As I was in my devotional time this morning I was reading I Samuel 10:6, “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.” (1 Samuel 10:6) This was the instruction from the prophet Samuel to Saul after he had anointed him to become king. I felt that Lord asking this challenging question: “Has my Word changed?” Of course not! So, if when we are “redeemed” we become the anointed of the Lord’s, shouldn’t there be a change in us? (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Let’s look at a situation in the book of Acts that will bring this question to the forefront and will demand an answer from each of us. “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” (Acts 4:32)
But there was a couple in this body of believers named Ananias and Sapphira who also owned property, sold it and only gave a portion of the proceeds to the apostles. That was not the sin. The sin was deception. Instead of being transparent and honest about keeping a portion of the proceeds, they stated that they had sold the property for a certain amount and all they received was being given to the apostles. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth to Peter. Peter asked Ananias a very important question. “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)
“And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.” (Acts 5:5) “Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.” (Acts 5:7-10)
How did we get so far away from the leading of the Holy Spirit? That isn’t meant to be a title to a new section, that is the question screaming in my heart. We have become so “I” driven, we have shut up the Holy Spirit into a little box in our lives and only allow Him to operate in us when it is convenient or will make us look good! Even if God acted instantaneously and we were struck dead for a sin we just committed, it would be explained away as having a heart attack. Whose walk today is even pure enough for God to be able to move in such power? Sure, we want to see miracles and healings, but for whose glory?
Jesus warns us Luke 11:35, “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.”
“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2)
“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)
“But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:5)
“Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.” (Luke 12:36)
‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’ (Revelation 3:20)
“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)
“For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:11-13)
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)
Lord God Almighty! My heart is greatly challenged by this Word! I hear You, again, gently roaring that the only way is through the blood of Jesus Christ, the slain Lamb of God, that sacrificed Himself and paid for my sin, can one even stand. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) Thank You, Father, that You continue to show me the areas in my life that need to be purified by You. Crucify everything in me that centers around “I” and fill it with the power of the Holy Spirit. I lay myself before You, have Your way. All I desire is Christ in me and I in Him, that You will be glorified! I bow before You in worship. I love You! Amen.