October 12, 2007
By Tracie Miles
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory; which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians (NIV)
I was sitting in Sunday School listening to prayer requests being mentioned. Prayer needs varied - someone’s neighbors were having marital problems; a co-worker was having a problem with her boss; a friend whose child was being rebellious; a family member’s health issues. A few were personal requests such as an important decision about work, a scheduled surgery, and safe travels for vacation. All the prayer requests were valid and prayer-worthy, but I started to wonder if we were really being real with one another. Why were we not asking for prayers for our own struggles - our own marriage struggles, our own children, or our own challenges in living a Christ-like life?
I had many prayer requests on my heart that morning but instead of sharing them with my Christian friends, I kept them hidden in my heart. Part of me yearned for their prayers, but part of me also feared sharing my most personal issues and concerns with others. Instead of focusing on the truth that God would hear the prayers of these prayer warriors and divinely intervene in my life, I focused on my own insecurities, and the fear of being judged for circumstances in my life or the condition of my own heart. I finally realized we all needed to get real, and that by keeping our struggles to ourselves, we were denying each other the opportunity to be encouraged by hearing the triumphs over trials in other people’s lives.
In today’s society, we have a tendency to focus more on outward appearances than on the inward condition of our hearts. We may have a smile on our face on the outside; but on the inside, our heart is aching, and our soul is pleading for someone to care enough about us to speak with God on our behalf. Our hearts need to be in God-condition for us to be confident enough in our faith to allow us to solicit the prayers of others. In so doing, we glorify Christ through our lives. If we truly desire a character like Christ’s, we must be willing to expose our weaknesses, shed our hypocrisy and stop pretending that our life is a bowl of cherries. God calls us to be transparent.
The Lord made it clear to Samuel that he did not care about what was on the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’" Samuel was in the process of determining which son of Jesse God wanted to become the king of
When I am transparent, I allow people to see, pray for, and love the “real me.” Being real and vulnerable helps me to be usable for God. Once my mask is removed God can use the “real me” to minister to others. Sharing about a restored marriage, about forgiving someone who betrayed you, about a repaired relationship, about spiritual healing from an abortion, or recovery from an addiction could be exactly what someone else needs to hear so that their life, and their heart, can be changed. If people think we “have it all together,” they are less likely to share their struggles. This could close the doors God opens for us to minister to others so that we can help them remove their masks, as well.
By removing our own masks, we can be transformed into vessels for to God use to bring glory to His kingdom. Not only will people see the prayer needs in our lives, they will also see the transparency of a sinner being transformed by being real and praying to a faithful God.
Dear Lord, help me take off the masks I wear so that I can be real to others. Give me the strength to look past my own insecurities and fears, so that I can use my experiences to help others learn to see You working in their lives. Please bring people into my path that I can minister to by being a vessel for Your mighty work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George
Ask God to show you how you can minister to someone by sharing your victory over a difficult situation.
Am I willing to be real with my friends and acquaintances?
Am I more concerned with my outward appearance than the condition of my heart?
2 Corinthians 3:16, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105