The media is full of scandalous stories of deceit. Whether in big cities or small towns, our society is filled with pretenders—people who have forgotten about integrity. Still, when everything is stripped away, all a person really has is his faith and his character. I believe that keeping a humble spirit while seeking God’s purpose for our lives is so critical. Temptations that could compromise our integrity are all around us. Our principles and honor must remain strong and pure if we are to endure the struggles and challenges life brings.
I remember hearing about a fellow who purchased a record-breaking white tail deer rack from an “old timer.” While the rack had never been officially recorded, some folks were familiar with its existence. The new owner decided to give the head a new cape and display it at several sports shows. He regularly boasted about the stalk and the harvesting of this animal. Having won many awards for “his new record deer,” he and his trophy soon became very popular among hunters. Then, one fateful day, someone recognized the head for what it was. Officials were contacted and the pretender was properly reprimanded and fined for his actions.
When we try to take the credit for something God has done, we are no better—worse. When we flaunt our good deeds for all to see or pretend to be something we’re not, we become hypocrites—pretenders of the worse kind. Eventually we’re sure to be found out.
Jesus had much to say about hypocrisy. He will not tolerate it. When confronting the pious pretenders of His day, he exclaimed, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” For this reason, Peter urges believers: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1 Peter 2:1)
God’s Word tells us, “True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life.” (Proverbs 22:4 NLT) I believe true humility and fear of the Lord comes from understanding who we are and who God is. Both will keep us from pretending to be something we’re not.
An old country preacher put it this way: “Be who you is, cuz if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t.” We can’t expect to be the “light of the world” or the “salt of the earth” if our character is flawed with hypocrisy. We must approach each day with integrity, knowing full well that any good that we do is in God’s strength, by His grace, and through His will.
Let’s not be pretenders, but keep our focus on Christ, bringing Him glory, and bringing others to Him through a life of integrity.
Spend time in prayer thanking God for all He has blessed you with—your family, your health, your gifts, skills, strengths, your possessions, your job—everything you can think of. It’s all a gift from Him.
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5