“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord’; but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Mark 7:21
In this verse, Jesus challenges His followers at the very center of their faith. Anyone can “act” religious or say spiritual things, but have a void in their hearts towards developing a deep and abiding relationship with God Almighty. Intimacy with God means that our thoughts, actions, prayers, and attitudes are in alignment with His plan and purpose for our lives.
God wants us to deepen our relationship with Him. He desires to abide with us every second of every day. To really know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to trust and obey His commands.
A person who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus may be able to say all the right things, but lacks the faith and desire to live a Christ-centered life. We call this person a “Sunday Christian only.” The individuals who have relationship with this person on the other six days begin to label all Christians as hypocrites. The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word “hypokrites” which means “an actor.” A person who pretends to have virtues, morals, or religious beliefs and principles that he/she does not actually possess or demonstrate.
The writers of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) emphasize Christ’s teachings related to hypocrisy. In Matthew Chapter 23 we read about the hypocrisy associated with the Pharisees and Sadducees. In Mark 3 we see Christ challenging other religious minded folks about their hypocrisy and “hard-heartedness” regarding the healing of the sick during the Sabbath. Christ was always interested in our care and concern for others as well as our “consistency” in obedience to Him.
Hypocrisy is a cancer eating at the heart of the church. Regularly as I travel and engage total strangers on the topic of Christianity I hear the words “those people I know who claim to be Christians are, for the most part, hypocrites”. I remind people that our loving God knew we couldn’t keep ourselves on track all the time. That is why He gave us His Loving Son to die upon Calvary’s Cross for our sins. We call that “grace.”
Continually Christ reminds us “Our walk should match our talk”. To some the only Christ they will see and know is each of us. An engraved stone on a wall in the Lutheran cathedral in Lubeck, Germany bears these soul-searching words:
“You call me Master and obey me not;
You call me light and see me not;
Your call me the Way and walk with me not;
You call me life and live me not;
You call me wise and follow me not;
You call me fair and love me not;
You call me rich and ask me not;
You call me eternal and seek me not;
If I condemn you, blame me not.”
The more we learn about what God has done for us, the more we can worship and adore Him. In addition, our motives will come from a pure heart, not from selfish ambition, guilt, or some church tradition. God is looking for genuine believers whose walk matches their talk. Our walk comes from intimately knowing God.
Let’s not say we love Him and then show disrespect to others. Let’s not say we care and then not show acts of kindness. Let’s not preach tolerance and then lack patience when dealing with complicated issues. Let’s not judge unless we want to be judged.
Let’s commit to working on His word being central to our problem solving and relationships.
To God Be the Glory.
Where do you stumble and fall short of being a seven-day-a-week Christian?
What does Romans 12 tell you about being a fully transformed and committed disciple?
Is your mind and heart daily renewed by reading and meditating upon His word?