Many of us feel like hypocrites and many more are but don’t. Writing this blog is very humbling as I post things I am learning about myself and God. I am often convicted myself while writing, because often I am guilty of the very things I write about.
I try to keep commentary to a minimum [often fail] and let scripture speak for itself, because the power of God is in his word to change, challenge, convict and encourage those who read it, not what I say.
2 Timothy 3:16; All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
It is sobering when I think of how Jesus spoke to the hypocrites in his day, those religious leaders who eventually put him to death because he challenged their authority. Is that how Jesus sees me?
Matthew 23:29, 33-34; Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!…
You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers.
As I write these blog posts, I’m also learning what is in my own heart, and at times I am deeply ashamed of what is there. I find myself akin with Paul in Romans chapter 7, when he relates his frustration within himself.
I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
If an apostle of Jesus Christ seems to be struggling, who then can be right with God, and live an acceptable life? Paul himself gives us the answer is Romans chapter 8.
Romans 8:1-4; So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Our answer is in the Spirit of God who enables us to overcome our habits and behaviors. That freedom only comes when we completely commit to God.
If you are like me, you may have excused certain behaviors by justifying or rationalizing them, giving yourself license or permission to do what you want to do. An honest look at my own heart revealed a rebelliousness to do what I wanted to do.
James 1:14-15; …each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
James 4:1-2;What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
The Price For Freedom
In the past I blamed circumstances and others for my behaviors. I justified my actions by absolving myself of responsibility, but I could not have been more wrong. I just didn’t want to pay the full price to change.
Luke 9:23-24;Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
There is a cost to us for following Jesus. We have to choose between our wants and desires, and God’s. We cannot live a dual life, because doing so constitutes being a hypocrite.
Are you feeling under condemnation right now about being a hypocrite? Which one of these men would you say are you closer to being?
Luke 18:9-14; To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
If you are suffering in your soul about being a hypocrite, you are not. If you are living in Romans 7, you have hope in Romans 8 and just have not learned yet how to get there.
We cannot game God, he knows our hearts better than we do, but true sincere repentance will bring his forgiveness. True repentance is not sorrow or grief about past actions, it is a change of direction regarding future decisions. Repentance is about choosing to obey God, rather than doing what you want, or doing good deeds.
1 Samuel 15:22;Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.
James 2:12-13; Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
There are consequences to our actions we will have to live with, but don’t mistake those consequences for unforgiveness from God. My arrogance and selfishness has destroyed relationships in my life and have defamed God himself. This scripture is now never far from my mind;
Romans 2:24; God’s name is blasphemed among the non believers because of you.
My trust and hope in God almighty and his Son Jesus Christ to ultimately save me from even myself, and that he will make right the wrongs I have done to others. We all live with some sort of regret, some of us more than others but we cannot change the past. We can however change our future by totally committing to God and by submitting to him. God alone will be able to change our lives and enable us to affect others through our obedience to him.
Have you wronged someone and feel deep regret? The best thing you can do for them is to lay your life down, your goals, wants and desires, become obedient to God and pray that he will bless their lives.
John 15:13; Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – Jesus
God has given us everything we need to live according to his will. Will we fail and continue to struggle? Yes, that is the amazing part. Because of his grace, we are able to get back up and continue on.
Matthew 18:21-22; Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
All he wants us to do is believe! Him.
2 Peter 1:3-4; His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.