Ephesians 5:8-17, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (9) For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth  (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

As we work with people to see them change, I have noticed one quality that appears in the life of a person when he/she really begins to experience a break-through in their behavior. The one word that describes this quality is transparency. What is transparency? The Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines transparency as: “That state or property of a body by which it suffers rays of light to pass through it, so that objects can be distinctly seen through it. This is a property of glass, water, and air which when clear, admits the free passage of light!”

1 John 1:5, This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center, we find that many people who say they wish to change, really do not. Until a person comes to the point they are ready to be transparent in their life they will have difficulty with Biblical long term change. God’s desire, of course, is to change our lives. After our salvation the thing God desires most is for us to live an abundant life, which changes consistently to be more like Christ.

It is very important to understand that God is light. We as a Christian represent God.

John 8:12, Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Folks, I know that an open, honest, attitude of truth and respect in my life will allow others to see the light of Christ flow through me. When someone we are counseling with can say, “I have nothing to hide from you. My life is an open book to you, can or will you help me?” It is then and only then that we can begin to see new and exciting chapters written in their life.

When Kim, my wife, and I see transparency on the faces of those whom we are counseling or trying to help, it is the “raw material” that is used or preparing to form and fashion godly behavior. God certainly experienced this when He spoke to Cain in the garden and asked him, “Why hast thy countenance fallen?” In other words, “Why won’t you look at me?”

I believe many Christians are suffering through the Christian life because they lack transparency!

What Happens When We Do Not Practice Transparency

Sadly, Christianity today has strayed from the foundational truths of the Spirit controlled life and has replaced it by focusing on our outward appearance of holiness, self-righteousness, and committed Christian living. Those who are caught in this feel they must “fit into the mold” or they will not be accepted.  They believe they are holy by having a “doer” mentality.  The “doer” mentality is to do things in my own power rather than God’s power.  Folks, it is not what we do, but what we “be” that makes us spiritual.  If I “be” by having a real relationship with God I will do things in a Godly way motivated by the Spirit of God.  I must focus on a Spirit Controlled life.

Our ministry is one that centers on the life giving, inward relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Being real and having a real relationship with the Lord. It means we believe in being open with God and correctable. Folks, it does no good when we learn to conform as we perform.

2 Timothy 3:1-5, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

He is speaking to Christians here who are not real or transparent in their lives. These people minimize God’s Word in their lives. They know how to conform to look good, but inwardly their life is not real. When put under pressure they will lie or do all the things in II Timothy 3:1-5 and rationalize it. They have a form of godliness but no power!

God is interested in people being transparent. A few years back I spoke to a group of girls at a Christian Home for Girls. I explained to them that until they are totally honest with their counselors rather than just telling them what they want to hear they will not move forward in the Christian life and will fall into the sins of II Timothy 3:1-5.

Folks, a person who is performing cannot be transparent! It seems to me the more honesty there is the less sin there is.

Ephesians 6:6-7, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (7) With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

However, when we put on an air of falsehood, it opens a breeding ground for darkness in our hearts that manifests the very dangerous sins of II Timothy 3:1-5.

To have real spiritual power in our lives, we have to OPERATE IN TRUTH!

John 8:31-32, Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Folks, “only the truth makes free.” When Kim and I counsel people we mean truth from every angle.

People who become truthful or transparent with God and their Christian leadership unlock tremendous power-the power of a transparent life. Finally, Jesus can be seen clearly through them. Whether it is a brand new Christian or an older, more mature Christian becoming transparent again, both open the door for God to change their lives when they yield to an open, honest attitude of truth. Families are restored, marriages are reconciled, and many of life’s disappointments are overcome by victory rather than defeat. This is the power of a transparent life.

What Happens When We Start Transparency

When we see the greatest change in people’s lives is when they become truthful in every area of their life.

Ephesians 5:8-14, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth (10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Most everyone is transparent to someone. Most everyone is open and hides nothing from someone. I have noticed that the people who have the “most baggage” and those who tend to be the hardest to unravel, are those who were at one time transparent with the wrong person. We had an experience with a person in one of our churches who would call other people up under the guise of being concerned for them to gather information and to give out non-Biblical or tainted wisdom. Then the person would share that information with others. Many people are hurt by those types of things.

There are those who are secretive because they want people to think good of them when their life is really not focused and undisciplined. They are miserable on the inside, but performing on the outside! It is a miserable way to live. Being deceitful and dishonest will never get you anywhere and God is not fooled. There are people who are always on both sides of an issue. They are being dishonest! Yet they think not!

Sampson was transparent with Delilah but not with his parents. David was transparent with Bathsheba, but not with the men of God.

A critic is one who is transparent with others about another, but he should have been transparent to those whom he is criticizing.

A hypocrite is one who is transparent with the wrong crowd, but not the right crowd. An adulterer is one who is transparent with a mistress, when it should have been his wife. A disloyal employee is transparent with other disgruntled staff, but not with his or her boss. I have found that a liar is the only one who is transparent with no one, not even himself! All heartbreak comes when you reject transparency toward your right authority and give transparency to wrong individuals.

I have counseled people from all walks of life and I have noticed that the ones with the most baggage were never transparent in their relationship with their father or mother.

What Is The End Result of Transparency

Matthew 5:14-16, Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Folks, if we are going to write an honest story and have any conclusions that honor God, we have to be honest-that is transparent. We have to factor in the dark side. Don’t pretend that you do not have that chapter in your life. When we take possession or control of our dark side, the side we try to hide from everyone, we free ourselves from the pretense of trying to be someone we are not. It will bring an enormous weight lifted off of you!

To be a transparent person, I need to be in God’s Word every day dealing with my sin and asking God to reveal His truths to my heart. I cannot be slothful in this. Some people even lie to themselves in this by not being consistent and not doing it with an open heart. They are mechanical and do not even know what they read after they read it! You cannot do this one day and not do it the next. The day you do not you are lying to yourself and believing the lie of Satan. Guess what – you are out of fellowship with God! I have found people make dumb decisions and harm their lives and their children’s lives when they are out of fellowship with God. They lie to themselves! They are not transparent with God or themselves! They will then lie to others. To have a real relationship with God you have to be transparent with God first!

Ask yourself these questions: Am I leading a life of integrity, of transparency? Am I owning up to my own story or pretending to be someone else? Am I stuck in the chapter of unrighteousness? Am I in self-denial? Am I lying to others? Am I living a secret life on the dark side? These are some of the questions that each of us will have to answer for ourselves. When you answer these with honesty, you will be able to make a commitment to a new life and begin a new chapter, a new journey of faith. You will be able to write new and wonderful pages in your life! You will be transparent and you will see God begin to use you in a fresh new light that causes a beautiful reflection to be seen by others. It will be Jesus shining through you!