“Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Once again in Matthew 23 Jesus criticized the scribes (theologians and teachers) and Pharisees (laymen with a zeal for the law). These folks wanted to impress people with their exemplary piety. So they strived to keep the Jewish law in such a way that people would see and admire them. The problem was that their hearts were not pure, but “filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
One of the most common attacks upon Christians alleges that we are hypocrites, that we say one thing while doing another. My response to this begins with acknowledging my own failures to live by my convictions. There are times when the charge of hypocrisy sticks. But, by God’s grace, I trust that my heart is not “filled with hypocrisy.” Though failing along the way, I do seek to walk along God’s paths. I want my words and deeds to match. So when I fall short by falling into hypocrisy, I hope the Spirit of God convicts me of my sin, so that I might confess and repent. Not only will this restore my relationship with God, but also it will enable me to live for God’s glory in the world.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you been lured into hypocrisy? Where do your words and deeds fail to line up? Would those who live with you or work with you say that you live consistently with your affirmations?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know that I too can fall into hypocrisy. I rarely choose it intentionally. But I end up in this pit as a result of my poor choices, rationalizations, and sinful heart. Forgive me, Lord, for all the times I fail to live out my faith in you.
Thank you for the ways you have been shaping me into a life of integrity, one in which my words and deeds mirror each other. May your Spirit continue to mold me, so that I might reflect your light in this world. As you look upon my heart, Lord, may it be wholly committed to you and your ways . . . for your glory. Amen.
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