Soli Deo Gloria

soli deo gloriaMy previous blog-post, which you can find (here), focused on the growing trend of “facebook competition” and how it led me to sin. Bred from that, the focus of this post is transparency. Questions about transparency have arisen in almost every conversation I have had recently with women from our church.  This is the what, when, who and where of transparency. The Why? Because there are right and wrong ways to be transparent.  (Hint: who is receiving the glory from the transparency, God? or me, the sinner?)

 1. The “what” of transparency

Our example of transparency is the Lord Jesus Christ; “who, though He was in the very form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:6)  His transparency was His vulnerability.  The Creator of the universe became vulnerable to the elements of His creation, and the elements that He had been separated from (our sin and death) as the Holy One on His throne. Transparency is humble, willing vulnerability.  Unlike our Lord, we are sinners; so, this vulnerability is manifested in a different, but glorious, way.  It is opening our sin-filled hearts to our sisters, and the glory of this act is forgiveness.  We are completely, eternally, atoned for and forgiven through the precious flow from Calvary. Transparency is confession of sin and repentance followed by forgiveness; sweet, sweet forgiveness. Transparency is no place for superficial weaknesses.  The goal of transparency is sanctification, so the heart issue is what needs to be exposed. The heart issue is always specific sin(s).

2. The “when” of transparency

After we sin, we must first confess to and ask for forgiveness from the Lord and the person we sinned against. In Proverbs 28:13, it is written, “Whoever conceals his transgression will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”  Transparency is applied when we have been struggling with a continuous sin and we need prayer and accountability.

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit for some, but encouraging one another…” (Hebrews 10:25) This is true fellowship: exposing sin (Eph. 5:11), confessing sin (James 5:16), and rejoicing in the Lord always, giving thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:16-18).  This is purposeful gathering. Which leads me to…

3. The “who” of transparency

Primarily in Titus 2 relationships; the women who are keeping you accountable to be “self-controlled, pure, and submissive to [your] own husband.” Also, in times of fellowship. When we gather in bible/book studies, bi-weekly play dates, or when we have a ladies movie night.  In these more casual settings, can I ask that we pray over the time perhaps on the drive over?  Ask that the Lord be glorified in everything that is said. As the Holy Spirit convicts sin, confess it. Then, ask the Lord if it would be His will that you share this specific sin with your sisters for the purpose of prayer and accountability.  They love you and want to see you grow in Christlikeness first and foremost.  The greatest intimacy, unity and joy is born out of relationships like this.

4. The “where” of transparency

I was purposeful with my choices of who we confess to, and they have two things in common. The first commonality is confession happens with sisters in Christ, believers of the same flock as you.  In James 5, the context of the “one another” we confess our sin to are the elders and people of our flock. These women share the same theology with you (i.e. when you need prayer because you have continuous sin in not submitting to your husband, you aren’t going to an egalitarian). They have committed to the same church covenant, and are held accountable to uphold it. They have the same church leadership as you. In other words, if your sin needs to go to the pastor and elders, there is no question of who’s pastor and elders they should go to. You are of the same flock and under the same faithful men. Most importantly, it is your leaders, brothers, and sisters who are charged to guard over your soul against the evil of this age; Acts 20:28- “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

The second commonality in these examples is that the confession is happening within the safety and privacy of your home or your sister’s.  If the true desire of my heart is that the Lord would be glorified in my life, there is no need for wide-scale public confession of my sin.  In a day and age when social-networking has more than blurred the lines of privacy, this can easily escape our judgement.  The Lord does not look at my Facebook posts to judge whether I have a humble and contrite heart.  He looks at my heart!

A common misconception, would be that we can encourage others when we show our weaknesses.  Romans 3 tells us in absolute terms that we all fall short, “there is no one righteous, no not one.”   We don’t need to be reminded that we are all sinners. It’s not important that I fail, JESUS CONQUERED ALL!!! Now THAT is encouraging!!! In spite of my insufficiencies, He is all-sufficient. This King is the only One worth praise.

I come to the same conclusion as my last blog-post. Brother John said it so eloquently, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

How are our lives declaring this daily?

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