How do you feel about honesty?
Honesty is something that I think we can all agree is severely lacking in our culture today. But let's make this really personal - are YOU honest? Specifically, with God? You see, God knows everything, down to the deepest secrets and desires of our hearts, and yet we still sometimes try to "clean up our act" for God. He knows what is going on, but we pretend we can hide our true form from him.
But what if there is a different approach? What if we didn't feel that we have to "clean ourselves up" before approaching God? Wouldn't that make all of the difference in our relationship with the Lord? I think it would. And we have evidence in the infallible word of God that he wants us to do just that - in fact, in his infinite love, he shows us by example in the gospel of Mark just how much he wants us to be honest with him about where we are at.
Mark 9 shares one of my favorite stories in the bible. It involves a man bringing his son to Jesus to have a demon cast out of him. There is a short exchange, and then the following verses take place. "(The man said) But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, '‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'"
Jesus looked at this father, who was broken and frightened for his son, and rewarded his honesty. He didn't rebuke him for looking into the face of God in human flesh and still struggling with doubt. He loved him, and he healed his son. Every time in the Bible that we see someone coming to Jesus, broken and honest, we Jesus respond with love and caring. Why would we think he is going to treat us differently? We are no "worse" with our struggle - this man SAW God, and still struggled; the Samaritan woman had had five husbands; the woman Jesus saved from being stoned was an adulteress. The list goes on and on, and over and over, we see Jesus drawing these people up, and gently redirecting them towards truth and purity. Never once does he reject someone who has fallen at his feet, confessed their shortcomings, and begged for mercy.
Therefore, let us latch on to the words at the end of Hebrews 4: "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
Jesus lived for over thirty years on this earth with us. He knows our struggle, our temptations, and...while he was on the Cross, he experienced the prick of guilt that sin brings as all of trangressions of the world were heaped upon his head. He knows you - not just what you do, but how you FEEL. And he still beckons you to lay these things at his feet, and to cast your burdens upon him. He can handle it. He won't turn you away, but instead will draw you in.
I encourage you to truly open up to Him today. Admit your shortcomings and sins, beg Him to help your sinful heart.
Do you struggle with unbelief? That's no surprise to God. Cry out to him; ask him to strengthen your faith! There is freedom in honesty with our Lord, and so often, we get stuck in ruts with our struggles with sin and doubt, when we really need to lay it all out on the table and let God handle it. He is waiting for us; he has reached out as far as he can. All we need do it take His hand, and follow his lead.