It is not easy to be honest with God. Rarely do any of us face up to actualities when we pray. But whom do we think we are fooling? Either we think God is very obtuse or else we presume upon his grace and mercy and salve our consciences with the feeling that he does not know or does not care.

We may try to sweep our sins under the rug, assume a hypocritical air of innocence, and go our own willful way. But God sees no rug, only the unconfessed and unrepented sins that form a barrier between us and him. These sins may be sins of the spirit (such as unbelief, pride, jealousy, envy, censoriousness) or of the flesh (such as lust, intemperance, love of money, dishonesty).

Failure to be honest with God is a continuing source of unhappiness, frustration, and ineffectiveness as Christians. On the other hand, complete honesty in confessing all sins, whether they be of thought, word, or deed, brings peace of mind and spirit and is the first step to a life of usefulness as a Christian.

Psalm 139 tells us that God knows our every thought and motive. “Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether” (v. 4, RSV). There is no place to which we can flee and escape God. The darkness cannot cover us: “even darkness is not dark to thee, the night is as bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee” (v. 12).

Little wonder that David ends this psalm, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (vv. 23, 24).

Our unwillingness to be honest with God may stem from our failure to realize his all-seeing eye. “Before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. ...

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