Living on Purpose: Rebellion hides behind the mask of pretending
By Dr. William Holland
Last week we talked about how common it is for many Christians to talk about how they love, worship, and serve God, but could some of this be their imagination? Maybe a misunderstanding or could it be a deception? There are sobering Bible passages that talk about our works on earth and our heavenly rewards such as Matthew 7:21-23. “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.” What could this mean?
We’ve heard it’s not how much we do, it’s about knowing His will and doing what He says. It’s not popular, but even good deeds are not rewarded if we are doing them for the wrong reasons. It should be no surprise that religious service can become a routine where we just mindlessly go through the motions. Paying sincere homage to God has nothing to do with trudging through traditional rituals just because someone said we should do it. Even if everyone we know believes a certain way, we must know what God is speaking to us. We notice a passage in Matthew chapter 15 and verses 7 through 9, where Jesus stands boldly against people who pretend to be something they are not. “You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draws near unto me with their mouth and honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. In vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Have you ever been guilty of playing the game?
Sin is not something that sneaks up behind us and captures us against our will. We know about sin and always have the choice to ignore it or entertain it. This is called “freewill” where we decide what is good and evil and this can be traced back to the Garden of Eden when Eve and Adam decided to disobey God. No one made them eat the fruit the same as no one makes us daydream about sin and partake of it now. Romans 12:2 declares that our mind must be transformed and renewed so we will not be controlled by the desires of our carnal nature. Living holy is possible, but no one said resisting temptation is easy. We might sing about being a dedicated warrior for God, but is this something we spend a lot of time praying about?
Sin is like one of those prickly burrs that cling to our clothes when we walk in high weeds. We can ignore them, but eventually, we have to sit down and intentionally pull them off because they will not let go on their own. Sadly, there are more people than we can imagine who do not want to resist their sins. Some people are sneaky and can wear a mask even in the church and do not want to hear about how it’s wrong to live a double standard. These Jekyll and Hyde characters are filled with pride about their ability to disguise themselves as followers of Christ when they have a closet full of things they would be embarrassed about if they were exposed.
Our sin hurts God. He sent His Son to die for our sins and yet some people love these sins more than they love Jesus. How can we love sin and love God at the same time? In Luke 6:46 Jesus says it like this, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and refuse to do what I say?” This is not a fluffy statement in the least. Romans 6:16 reminds us, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or obedience unto righteousness?” There are only two choices and our actions prove who we love. As painful as it might be, we recall the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”
When Christians can be comfortable in their sins, they have crossed the line into an apathetic and dangerous attitude. The Holy Spirit will convict when someone drifts away, but we can ignore Him and fall deeper into a backslidden state. God is calling for all of His lukewarm sheep to come back into His fold today.
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