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Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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Happy people are those whose lives are honest. True happiness doesn’t come from our circumstances. Life is hard; at some point or another we will all face problems and difficulties – financial challenges, health challenges, relationship challenges or career challenges.

Honesty is the way to experience real intimacy with God, with our spouse, and with our friends. Having the opportunity to build an honest relationship with God and other people makes Christianity attractive and gives us hope. This kind of intimacy and freedom can never be taken away, no matter what difficulties we face.

The condition of our heart determines the joy in our lives

11 “This is what the story illustrates: The seed is God’s word. 12 Some people are like seeds that were planted along the road. They hear the word, but then the devil comes. He takes the word away from them so that they don’t believe and become saved. 13 Some people are like seeds on rocky soil. They welcome the word with joy whenever they hear it, but they don’t develop any roots. They believe for a while, but when their faith is tested, they abandon it. 14 The seeds that were planted among thornbushes are people who hear the word, but as life goes on the worries, riches, and pleasures of life choke them. So they don’t produce anything good. 15 The seeds that were planted on good ground are people who also hear the word. But they keep it in their good and honest hearts and produce what is good despite what life may bring.

Luke 8:11-15 GWT

Too often we make excuses and exceptions and think because of our external circumstances we can’t be happy. We think we are too busy, can’t be more devoted to God and can’t build more spiritual relationships. But the reality from the Bible is that when our heart is good and honest, we can produce good things despite what life may bring.

So what do we not like being honest about?

  • We usually don’t want to admit the times where we’ve abandoned our faith when we face testing. Are you honest with God and friends when you are crumbling inside? Or do you try to just keep going and survive?
  • We usually don’t want to admit the times we’re letting our faith be choked out by the worries, riches and pleasures we desire more than God. Is there anything you desire more than God? Is there any area other than your relationship with God where you honestly feel like “If I just had ____________, I would be happy”?

The key to building our faith and building intimacy with God comes down to how honest we are willing to be.

Why Honesty Makes You Truly Happy

1 How happy is the one whose wrongs are forgiven, whose sin is hidden from sight.
2 How happy is the person whose sin the Eternal will not take into account. How happy are those who no longer lie, to themselves or others.

Psalm 32:1-2 (Voice)

Honesty builds intimacy with God. When you know that God knows everything about you and forgives you, you can be truly happy.

What makes me me unhappy is not my circumstances but all the unspoken and suppressed feelings, thoughts and especially sins in my heart that I’ve not been honest about. Honesty means being free of deceit and untruthfulness. That means there is no area of our lives we are hiding and unwilling to talk about.

Life Without Honesty

3 When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable, moaning and complaining all day long so that even my bones felt brittle.
4 Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me.My strength dried up like water in the summer heat; You wore me down.

Psalm 32:3-4

From this scripture we can find some signs that we are not being honest:

  1. Refusal – indicating or show that one is not willing to do something; turn down, say no to; reject, spurn, rebuff, dismiss. Do you have his attitude toward admitting your wrongs? Your sins, guilt, faults, and mistakes?
  2. Misery –  unhappy, sad, sorrowful, dejected, depressed. This is what lies do to our hearts. Sometimes we don’t believe that; we think lies will make us happy. But they don’t – hiding who you are only leads to feeling worse.
  3. Moaning – making a long, low sound expressing physical or mental suffering
  4. Complaining – expressing dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event; protest, grumble, whine.
  5. Brittle – hard but liable to break or shatter easily; internally weak, breakable, fragile, delicate; splintery

Do you recognize any of these signs in your life? If so, take time to consider what areas you need to be more honest about.

Only God Removes Guilt

5 When I finally saw my own lies, I owned up to my sins before You, and I did not try to hide my evil deeds from You. I said to myself, “I’ll admit all my sins to the Eternal,”and You lifted and carried away the guilt of my sin.

Psalm 32:5

Only God can remove guilt. I won’t be able to really be free from my guilt until I’m willing to see and accept what God sees. One problem I have is that I stubbornly want to see only what my own emotions are telling me! I can be not open to letting myself being influenced by others to see what God sees. Only when I can admit to God and agree with God about my guilt can I be truly free from it.

Let’s continue in Psalm 32 and look at a few more reasons honest people can be truly happy:

1) Honest Hearts are Free

6 So let all who are devoted to You speak honestly to You now, while You are still listening. For then when the floods come, surely the rushing water will not even reach them.
7 You are my hiding place. You will keep me out of trouble and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free.

Psalm 32:6-7

When we are really honest about who we are, we can get reassurance about what God actually thinks. If we are always hiding, we can never experience this reassurance.

2) Honest Hearts are Flexible

8 I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there; I will give you good counsel, and I will watch over you.
9 But don’t be stubborn and stupid like horses and mules who, if not reined by leather and metal, will run wild, ignoring their masters.
10 Tormented and empty are wicked and destructive people, but the one who trusts in the Eternal is wrapped tightly in His gracious love.

Psalm 32:8-10 Voice

When we are free and honest, we won’t be stubborn. Out of gratitude and trust we will know that God cares for us and has good plans for us.

How flexible are you when plans change, big or small? Do you get angry and stressed, or do you trust that God is guiding you in a different direction?

3) Honest Hearts are Generous

11 Express your joy; be happy in Him, you who are good and true. Go ahead, shout and rejoice aloud, you whose hearts are honest and straightforward.

Psalm 32:11 Voice

Honest people can’t help but express their joy. They want other people to experience it, so they are generous. They are generous with their time and their emotions, because they want to inspire others to believe and experience the joy they have.

How generous are you with your time? Your emotions? Your resources? What do you think this reflects about your relationship with God?


To work on having a more honest life, pick one of these three practicals today to work on:

  1. Honest conversations: Have an honest talk with God about the biggest things on your mind today. Make sure to express your emotions and also be willing to see areas you’ve made mistakes or feel guilty so you can be truly free.
  2. Honest relationships: Get involved in a Bible Talk. These are smaller groups within the church that should be like family- where we are close and enjoy being together and our relationships make Christianity attractive to our neighborhoods and communities. If you’re not involved in a Bible Talk, try attending one of our six services around the Bay Area to find a spiritual family in your area.
  3. Honest generosity: decide to be generous with your heart and your resources in our upcoming Special Contribution. We hold this annual fundraiser each year for our youth ministry programs and it is a great way to invest in the future and ensure that future generations get the opportunity to get to know the God who can help them find true happiness.

Written by

Ray Kim

Ray Kim is a Southern California native who made the Bay Area his home after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. He is passionate about community service, and is spearheading such efforts as the E-Hoops program at the University of San Francisco.