Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yes, you really are a hypocrite. (By Alfred Turley)

The charge is everywhere:  Christians are such hypocrites.  The history of the word itself is rooted in the greek word 'hypokrites', which means "an actor, specifically someone who would act on stage.  Makes sense to me.

I think overall it’s true, at least to some degree in all of us.  Every Christian I know struggles with this tension: they know that Jesus modeled a life with actions and words and deeds that we are called to emulate.  However, we often don’t FEEL like it, or frankly we just can’t do it.  It’s too hard to love that person.  It’s too hard to control my temper.  It’s too hard to endure the pain.  It’s too hard to keep saying “no” to that thing I really want to do.

So then we set up stages to act on.  We will exert our energy and effort on the “Work” stage, and give it our best acting job.  And we will have a “Church” stage presence, where we say, “I’m fine!” or “I’m blessed!”, faking it all the way home.  But at home we often can’t keep it up, and our family sees the real us.

Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”  (John 10:10).  

It often doesn’t feel that way, does it?

So how do we stop faking it?

Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 12
"He began to say to His disciples first: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. 3 Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

Jesus made it clear:
We must intentionally fight hypocrisy.
We must guard against it, and recognize it as a cancer in our lives and something that once it gets there, it is dangerous and will even spread to others.  People are always watching us, and allowing hypocrisy to creep in patterns it for them and even models it as acceptable.  But it is empty and dangerous, and does tremendous damage to the true, life-giving message of Jesus!

The root of hypocrisy is man-pleasing
We care way too much about what people think of us, and putting on a show.  We care about the short-term appearances and pleasing people and trying to fit in.  So we bypass the real work of thought and heart change that bears the lasting fruit we really need.

Jesus continues….
4 “And I say to you, My friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear! 6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7 Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!

Why do you care what "they" think?
Fill in the blank on who "they" are in your life.  And then think now about Jesus' stark warning: “they” have no real power over us in the long run.  “They” can make life a little harder, yes.  But there is one who controls our eternal destiny, and we are precious and cherished to Him.  He is the one we need to be living for!

There is only one stage!
If we are Christ-followers, God is literally in us and walking around with us, and He sees it all... And loves us anyway!  There is no hiding, and He even knows what is really going on inside us, things we don’t even know!  I think when we all ponder a day when everything we have ever done or said is made known, then we all freak out a bit.  But it is biblical (what Jesus just said) and also shown in the book of Revelation.

Life out in the open is freedom.
God is not trying to embarrass us by assuring global revelation of all of our lives. He is trying to set us free.  And only when we face the truth and the reality of our hearts will we address the real problems, which are in there, not out on the stage.  When I am able to live out in the open, with my faults and failures out there as well, knowing there is no hiding, I get to walk free

My prayer today is that we walk free, knowing God is with us and loves us no matter what, and that He will help us guard against that trap of man-pleasing and hypocrisy!


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