Memory Verse: "...no more pretense..." (Eph.4:25, MSG)
Scripture Reading: Matt.23:1-39.
I've had people tell me a couple of times that they would rather be known in life as an honest sinner, than a lying hypocrite. Sadly, I stand with them.
Hypocrisy is a deadly disease and it has eaten deep into the body of Christ.
First off, I'd like to say that it is not your shortcomings that make you a hypocrite; it is hiding them and pretending you don't you don't have any!
Note two things about hypocrisy:
- It's as natural as breathing. It appeals to our ego. We get hooked on it because it looks so impressive, and results in our getting lots of positive strokes. Who wouldn't enjoy that?
- Dealing with hypocrisy is hard [in the energy of the flesh]. It's easier to train a new believer than to retrain an old one steeped in religion. To win the battle with hypocrisy, you must first admit you've got a problem with it. Only then can the Holy Spirit begin a work of deliverance and set you on the path to freedom. However, it's a long and brutal fight: our desire to appear good and sound right in front of others dies slowly-- if at all. The point is, we have to keep dying to hypocrisy every day.
The image above clearly defines what hypocrisy is: having beliefs but lacking actions commensurate to these beliefs.
I'll close today's devotional with these couple of verses from Eph.4 as written by Apostle Paul:
"And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion. But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself" (vv. 17-25, MSG). Let these words serve as our spiritual breakfast, lunch and dinner, today and indeed for the rest of our lives.
Sweets, there's absolutely no eternal gain in being a hypocrite. If we understand this truth deeply, we will have no business with hypocrisy in the first place. Let's add action to whatever we profess to believe in and stand for.
Ponder Point: Practice what you preach or change your speech.
Action Point: Let your words be in total agreement (conformity) with your actions at all times.
Prayer Point: Dear Lord, convict me of any sin of hypocrisy. Help me to live my talk even as You steady my feet in the path of truth in Jesus name, Amen.