Integrity. Sincerity. Genuineness.
These are all antonyms....opposites of one word: hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is when we say something but mean and/or do the opposite.
Please note that I am not addressing the word "hypocrite." There is a reason for that. The Lord will take what I write here and will convict some of us of hypocrisy. In fact, as I am writing it He is revealing to me ways that I unwittingly have professed allegiance to Him (and I really DO love Him and receive Him as my Lord) yet I think some things and do some things that do not go with belonging to Jesus.
I’m not addressing the idea of being a “hypocrite” because I do not typically label anyone according to things they do. Of course, if a person was to constantly practice lying….if they were typified by non-stop deception (like the devil is, for instance) I would consider that person to be a liar. But, almost always, the people around us do things sometimes that do not typify them. They will exaggerate some facts or leave out details and that does not make them liars.
We MUST distinguish between, in our hearts, the real person from the things people occasionally do. And this includes things that new Christians do that do not reflect a commitment to Christ as they grow into their new identities in Christ. Sometimes there is a bit of a lag there.
We must extend grace to these.
Yet, there IS an issue I believe the Lord would have me address today and that is the whole idea of Christians habitually doing things that Jesus hates (because they are sin…and, therefore, hurt people) while calling Jesus Lord.
Hypocrisy. Saying we are something while practicing behaviors that don’t go with who we are in Christ.
Jesus knew people would do this and He addressed it and the consequences:
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house
on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:46-49)
In this passage Jesus tells us that it is important that we heed what He says to do and say, and to also heed what He says NOT to do and NOT to say.
For the record, there are three ways Jesus instructs us:
1) Through the words He actually speaks in the Gospels and elsewhere in the New Testament (John 21:25)
2) Through the Holy Spirit of God as He speaks through the words of the writers of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16)
3) Through the Holy Spirit of God as He speaks to you via your human spirit in which the Holy Spirit dwells. (Romans 8:9,11)
“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.” (Luke 6:47-48)
In Luke 6:47-48 Jesus reveals that there is a positive effect to obeying Him in our everyday life as much as possible: our foundation is sound and we can survive and flourish in trying times.
Many people actually live in obedience to Jesus. You can tell who these people are. They are the ones who can have really bad things happen in their life but they just keep on keeping on. They might be rocked a little but they remain solid and focused.
“But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:49)
The word “ruin” in verse 49 is the Greek word “rhegma”; it refers to something that is “torn or fragmented”. Have you noticed how many of the people we know in the body of Christ whose lives are typified by constant unrest, strife, crises, drama, panic and calamity?
I have not kept statistics. However, I would imagine there is a great correlation between the percentage of people call themselves Christians and who experience that list of negative experiences above and those who also are living in sexual sin, who are in bondage to alcohol, drugs and pornography, who practice lifestyle unforgiveness, who routinely lie, cheat, steal – all while disguising themselves as strong believers in Jesus.
This is the nature of hypocrisy, which comes from a Greek word (hupokrisis) that means to “act under a faked part; deceit.” According to the Bible, hypocrisy is linked to the “searing (rendering insensitive) of one’s conscience” (1 Timothy 4:12.) This means it is possible to basically deafen our ears to the conviction of the Holy Spirit by saying we love Jesus while practicing as a lifestyle things He hates.
Based on the fact that we have heard and have experienced the Gospel, the Apostle Peter tells us this:
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)
There is our command: we are to “lay aside” or “put down for good” hypocrisy and other behaviors that go completely against who we are in Christ.
How can we do this? What can we say to those who may have read this article and who are experiencing conviction as I have while writing this today? What can we say to those convicted of hypocritical thoughts or behaviors?
1) Our repentance always starts by presenting ourselves to God and proclaiming to Him what He already knows: that we have sin in our lives and patterns in our souls that keep us on a hurtful path. Cry out to Him! Say it out loud to God. “Father, I see something in my life that I never saw before and I don’t want it in my life anymore!”
2) Romans 12:1 urges us to live sacrificially. This doesn’t mean for us to sacrifice things, rather that we literally live AS sacrifices. We next place ourselves on the altar and ask God to burn away whatever He wants to purge out of us.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 11-15)
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Remember: anything that goes on the altar to be sacrificed belongs to God. Allow Him to burn away the hypocrisy of our tongues confessing Jesus as Lord while our bodies confess sin as our king. Allow Him to reveal and put right anything that is out of order in our lives.
3) We commit to learning to live in ways that bring honor to our King.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)
It is my prayer that the fruit of what has been written here will be an increase in the purity of the body of Christ and a deeper commitment among us to having the way we live match our voiced commitment to our King – Jesus, the Christ.
Let's go practice the Kingdom of God.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries
© June 6, 2014
(For use with permission)