The Mystery of Suffering Part 2


“Breaking Through the Thick Shield of our Hypocrisy”

          Almost every Christian has a dark past; a period of time where darkness seemed to take over. Yet, they found Jesus. It would seem that the Body of Christ is almost tolerant of those sins. As a matter of fact, if the sins were extremely dreadful, they would serve as a great testimony. People are willing to hear your testimony and many are open to tell their stories, write books about them; share them through preaching, interviews, etc. However, after coming to the feet of Jesus, there exists a sense that you are suppose to be perfect.

            The expectation of many Christians is that all of the issues faced are automatically resolved the day they were born again. This kind of illusion creates an environment where people are not allowed to be transparent; it is almost like the system itself encourages Christians to hide their dark side.

“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:17) 

There is a great conflict taking place in the inside of each Christian; perhaps we are all bipolar. The only way to overcome the flesh is by walking in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 tells us, I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Only by the Spirit, by us surrendering to the Spirit of God, can we have victory over the flesh; there is no other way. The problem is that we are not always walking in the Spirit as our flesh manifests sturdily. We still have thoughts and emotions racing in our hearts that are bluntly waiting to be exposed. God wants to change us from the inside out and many of us have developed into experts in faking outer behavior changes without true inner change. We have developed a very thick shield of hypocrisy designed to cover who we really are in our secret places.

             We all need to change; we are the ones with the problem, not God. Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us:

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” 

             In this verse, God led the children of Israel into the desert, among other reasons, to test them so that they may be able to see what was in their hearts. God is All-Knowing; this process of facing the desert is not for Him to know our hearts; He already knows (1 Samuel 16:7). Sooner or later, we will all have to face the heat of the desert; it is in that heat of the day and that cold of the night that the junk in us be exposed as we become broken. I have discovered that when we are faced with the reality of our hearts; there are three basic responses:

  1. Denial: These people view themselves as having no great issues. They are “quick to try to remove the mote out of other’s eyes, but are unable to see the beam in their own.” Their issues are obvious, but sincerely, they can’t see them.
  2. Covering-up: This group is more concerned about what men has to say than about what God has to say. This group is more into pleasing men over trusting God.
  3. Desiring to be Liberated: This group sees the mess in their hearts and are crying out before God. This group doesn’t care about who knows or who doesn’t; what people may think or say. This group has not arrived to glory, but they understand that they must die to themselves and surrender to God on a daily basis.

 

Which group best represents you? If you are in the first group; you probably did not even finish reading this article. If you are in the second group, I hope that this article has been an eye opener, so that you may go after God and allow Him to do the work in your heart. What you are doing in the dark will come out to the light; don’t wait until you get caught. The majority of the people are in the first two groups. We must remember that out of all the people that came out of Egypt with Moses, only two made it to the promise land.

             There is so much being said in our local churches, on radio stations, on TV, through books, magazines and countless articles around the world. However, I strongly feel that at this hour, above all the things we consider important; there is nothing more important after worshiping God than to die to self. This is not about winning souls for Jesus; this is not about material prosperity, community charities, and the size of our buildings or the building of our personal ministries. God is after your heart. In the heat of the desert, He is breaking through the thick shield of our hypocrisy.

 

          

 

 

 

One thought on “The Mystery of Suffering Part 2

  1. But there is a smacking of self-righteousness when a person begins to use their self-denial as a means of producing righteousness. Jesus gives two groups of warnings that challenge the authenticity of our faith and that can lead to hypocrisy. He describes two areas to watch out for: Hypocrites expect a reward, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full…. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full….. When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Mat 6:2, 5, 16).

    Hypocrites also look for the limelight, “so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…. so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Mat 6:4, 6, 18).

    These are the obvious, but in the final analysis, who can judge! We have to be very careful about reading this Scripture and thinking that it gives us any occasion to judge the motive of a person’s generosity, their piety, their self-discipline. It is a very slippery slope. If we stopped here, all we know is what hypocrisy looks like. Our goal is the authentic, what does it look like?

    I think authentic faith is natural. This is what Jesus says, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Mat 6:3-4). This is tied in with Jesus telling his disciples not to be showy with their generosity, but I think it applies to the way we live our lives. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. So authentic faith is when you show acts of mercy and compassion and never have to give a thought about your intentions or motivations, when you pray, it is not asking God for anything specific, it is not complaining to God about how rotten your life is, it is a natural conversation. You are not enamored by the sound of
    your own voice, but you are intensely aware of the authenticity of your heart.

    Erwin McManus says, “The divine transformation that God seeks to bring is nothing less and nothing more than making us truly human. What it means to be human has become so foreign to us, and God’s original intent so lost to us, that we experience it as a new way to be human. It is an actuality, a return to the authentic. God literally turns us inside out. When the box is opened, we see that God has transformed the contents. There is a resonance between our actions and desires. How we live becomes a genuine expression of what we care about. We are no longer guided by laws, but by values. It is God’s desire to do His work from the inside out. To turn us into authentic human beings, no plastic piety, but true Christ-centered human beings.” Surely this is the divine transformation that is even now “breaking through the thick shield of our hypocrisy.”

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