I’ve grown up in the church my entire life and I’ve heard the term ‘hypocrite’ thrown around a thousand times and recently have heard this word thrown around even more (ok. So this post is inspired by some Tweets by Cory Copeland). Most people associate a hypocrite with someone who calls themselves a Christian yet lives in outward sin. The people who were clumped together under this label included those who called themselves Christians but were alcoholics, had pre-marital sex, looked at pornography, cussed like a sailor, or beat their children. Jesus didn’t put up with hypocrites… but when he talked about hypocrites, outward sin was not what He was referring to. It all involved the condition of our hearts. So I pulled up some scriptures to help us dissect what is actually being said about hypocritical behavior.
1. It’s all about their “Image”.
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 others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:2
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 others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:16
People who are hypocrites are ones that are tormented with the fear of man. They are more concerned about their reputations than about the hearts of the people around them… not to mention the condition of their own hearts. They crave honor from other people so they put on a facade of spirituality to make people think they are something they really aren’t. Their motives in loving and serving weren’t to please God but to please men and be honored by them. Serving and giving are all about ‘the heart’. People can talk about love all day long and not really love. They talk about it to make themselves appear generous, good, and compassionate when in reality their heart is full of wickedness, jealousy, and pride. These people are hypocrites.
2. They like to point out everyone else’s sin but never deal with their own.
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Matthew 22:18
Watch out for people who point out the flaws of others more often then they are transparent with their own flaws… especially if they seem to be getting enjoyment or some sort of rise out of it. The truth is, everyone has junk in their hearts to deal with and we should all be ready to confess it (with safe people in our lives). If you are gossiping about someone else’s sin then there is a huge chance your heart probably isn’t right either. In fact, you probably use your judgment of others in an attempt to prevent sin in your own heart from being exposed. So before you go ready to pounce on someone about their issues, try sitting before the Holy Spirit and asking Him to examine your own heart first. If you don’t do this, then sorry… you are a hypocrite.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t call sin what it is. I’m not talking about tolerance of sin in any way here. God has laid out some pretty clear definitions of sin and we are not to ignore them because if we do, we are harming not only ourselves but the body of Christ at large.
3. They try to earn their salvation through works instead of resting in the provision of the cross and resurrection.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:10-12
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15
The Pharisees had a ton of stupid rules and a majority of these rules had to do with food, hence the jargon about what goes into a mouth. True, God did send a few of these rules down during the old covenant but the Pharisees added a ton to these rules. They added a bunch of ridiculous legalistic… CRAP (pardon me)… that had nothing to do with God whatsover. They simply wanted a way to prove to everyone how ‘holier than thou’ they were. I have heard these man-made rules over the years as well. Some of them consisted of “television commercials are evil”, “cabbage patch dolls are evil”, “getting married is not very spiritual”, “short hair and pants are a sign of a worldly woman” or some much more unspoken rules like “if you don’t dance, you don’t have freedom”, “if you don’t raise your hands, you must not love God”, etc. Some think that the more you “do” for God the more you are going to please Him. BOLOGNA. NOW… that being said, if the Lord tells you to do something… it’s probably best to go do it or if you WANT to do it out of your love for God, of course– but don’t do something to please someone else or to make yourself look good to the people around you. That is called Fear of Man.
God is looking not for those who put on a facade of worship through external activities but He is looking for those whose hearts are sincere and who draw near to Him. He cares about us having a deep friendship and intimate relationship with Him as well as the condition of our hearts… MUCH more than He cares about the mounds of activities we’re involved in. This is conveyed all through scripture… Luke 10:30-42, Matthew 7:21-23, John 6:28-29, Romans 3:19-23, Romans 3:27-28, Romans 4:1-3, Galatians 2:15-17, Galatians 3:5-6… okay. There happens to be many more but I simply don’t have all the time to record each verse… because they are EVERYWHERE! This is not a cop-out to say that we are automatically released from all of our responsibilities but the Lord does talk about doing things out of obligation. Because we are His sons and daughters we should never feel “obligated” to work for Him… “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness” Romans 3:4. Remember that Paul is not talking about the actual work but your heart behind the work you do. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus doesn’t tell the Pharisees that tithing is bad, He just tells them that they should have tithed AND practiced justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Leaders who shame others for not being perfect are usually the ones committing the deepest sins– as the Pharisees were. The best leaders are the ones that are leading by example. They are displaying the fruits of the Spirit in their own lives and it is contagious to those who are following them. Not that leaders aren’t suppose to confront sinful behavior, but if they feel the need to control and demand more than they are capable of doing themselves, then there is a huge problem. For example, my pastor, Pete, is a great example of faith, vision, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I want to follow His example in this. Mike Bickle, a former leader of mine, has amazing character and true humility. As the old Nike saying goes, because of this, “I want to be like Mike.” My own Dad is also my “spiritual father”. He is a man of prayer, mercy, and compassion for others that few can replicate and he has a true heart of a shepherd. The Pharisees weren’t pointing people to faith in the supernatural grace and power of God, they were pointing them to an absolutely impossible salvation through “doing”. And they were publically rebuked by Jesus for leading these people into slavery!
Now… hope. Thankfully, there really is a simple solution to our hypocritical behavior. Get to know Jesus. Read His Word and ask Him questions about it. Ask Him for revelation on true intimacy and obedience. Take some time to sit and adore Him… without other people around. Shut yourself in your bedroom (Matthew 6:6), put some worship music on and pour out your heart to Him.
And I disagree with Cory. Not all Christians are hypocrites. HAHA.
My sleep was slightly disturbed last night… okay massively disturbed by the probing of the Holy Spirit. I found myself frustrated, confused and condemned with the state of my heart and life. For the past couple of weeks, I have felt a distance from Holy Spirit. There are times when Jesus withdraws His presence from us to motivate us to seek Him out and then there are times that we allow our hearts to become so dull that His presence seems like a distant dream. You see, I’ve been having a running dialogue with myself for some time now.
I’m going to figure this out my way. I’m going to make things happen without His perfect timing and this is how I’m going to do it. I’m going to do this so that I can be a better person… wait oops, I made a mistake again so I suck and now He’s mad at me and there’s nothing I’m going to be able to do about it except try not to do it again. Wait, okay, what are some other ways I can stop doing this? How can I make myself learn to love more? How can I stop myself from being afraid? How can I trust God? How can I not put walls up? How can I not react to this person’s behavior? How can I not be sad when I disappoint someone? How can I stop disappointing someone? How can I get them to see me for who God made me to be? How can I love people that are difficult to love? Am I good enough to do this? Am I talented enough? I give up. I can’t do this. There’s no way…….. it’s impossible. Here I am going to that dark place again and I’m not fully sure how I’ll get out of it.
And the dialogue continued without end and the more it continued, the more withdrawn I felt. Last night I realized that there was something massively wrong. I wasn’t suppose to be having conversations with myself. Why hadn’t I even breathed a word of these thoughts to Jesus? Why did I continue to wrestle with myself and not wrestle with the One who loves to wrestle with His children? And in the dark frame of mind that I found myself in He whispered me back to an awake state:
You’ve forgotten that you need a Savior.
Then the image appeared again; an image that burned itself on my heart many years ago and has never quite faded from existence. It is the image of my Savior, hanging, bleeding, suffering and it wasn’t so that I could live life trying to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and combat sin and weakness and pain on my own. You see, people, the church is so afraid of appearing imperfect. We like to point out the failures and inconsistencies in the lives of others but we ourselves never fully realize the glory of partaking in the sufferings of Jesus, of feeding off of His flesh and blood, of partnering with Him in our daily lives… of relying on Him for nourishment and grace and healing. It’s because of unbelief that we continue to grasp for some kind of humanistic approach to holiness and righteousness. We don’t fully believe that He is there with us at all times. We feel abandoned by Him. We don’t trust in His goodness and kindness. It’s our belief in the tiny whispers of the enemy that God is withholding from us. That He is unpredictable (which He is to us, but not to Himself) but also erratic with our lives, ready to pull the rug out from under us at any moment.
But oh, He’s not that way!
We have to repeat the truth, in our mouths, in our heads in our hearts… to each other and ourselves.
For You are the living God, and steadfast forever…. you deliver and rescue and You work signs and wonders in heaven and on earth Daniel 6:26-27
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26
And whatever we ask in Your name, that You will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:12-14
But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house. Psalm 5:7
Your gentleness makes me great. Psalm 18:35
Though the Lord is on high, yet you regard the lowly Psalm 138:6
As for God, Your way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless Psalm 18:30
Behold Your eye o Lord is on those who fear you, on thos who hope for your lovingkindness Psalm 33:18
Lord all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. Psalm 38:9
You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8
O Lord, You have searched us and known us. You know our sitting down and our rising up; You understand our thoughts afar off. You comprehend our paths and our lying down and are acquainted with all our ways. Psalm 139: 1-3
“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7
But those who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. Psalm 34:10
Now didn’t that feel good? Couldn’t you feel the war going on as you read through these scriptures? I could. Happy are those that recognize the worth of their Savior. Not just who He is to us but who HE IS. He does not change. He is perfect in every way. Flawless in character. Does not show favoritism. Beautiful and Fascinating. Loves completely and perfectly and is always always always available. How lucky we are to depend on such a God.
A few weeks ago I scribbled down the last entry on a journal I’ve had for the last three years. I’ve kept a journal since I was nine years old. I have quite a few of them, however, many of them are lost which is a little frightening considering how the journals contain deeply personal information. I remember buying this specific journal and I remember God telling me that once I started writing in this journal, it would mark a new journey in my life. I knew the journal itself had to be a really cool one. It was covered in shiny, purple fabric and had a cool Indian beaded design on it. I started the journal in late January of 2006 when I first decided to head to IHOP and become an intern at FITN. I knew my life was going to be a little different after I came back after the first 3 month track but what I didn’t know at the time was how drastically my life would be altered by my experience in the nightwatch and how in fact I knew I would never be coming back to Dallas again (except maybe to visit). Well I am still here, 3 years later and there have been moments where I have pleaded with God to let me go back to D-Town but over and over he has made it perfectly clear I am suppose to stay here. Though it is still a painful experience being here, I am realizing more and more how much I love this place.
A new journal always means transition with me. I’m excited to see what happens in this next phase of my life.
On Fridays I have been taking a class at FSM, taught by Shelley Hundley called “Prophesying in the End-Times”. I, unfortunately, had to skip class last week because of sickness but the week before Shelley shared a word that she felt for the class. We were to be Hannah’s and intercede for the Samuels, the prophets to come forth at IHOP. She shared how there should be a groan in our spirits for others to surpass us in our prophetic giftings. I realized after Shelley’s talk that I didn’t have that groan but the conviction didn’t come right away.
My apartment has been pretty silent lately. I’ve gotten rid of most electronic equipment that can “noise-up” my apartment. I didn’t get rid of it because I thought it was evil or because I was being legalistic… I have been desparate to hear from God. I’ve been desperate to encounter Him. I’ve also realized why I went to movies, TV and the surfing the net way more often than I should. What God had to say to me in the silence was uncomfortable.
After Shelley’s class, I went back home to my noiseless apartment. It’s funny how God speaks to us while we’re making dinner or doing something totally mundane… as long as it’s done in silence. Well, I was in my kitchen, fixing a salad when the Lord started to speak to me about a specific person here at IHOP… and about my own heart. The Lord spoke to me about praying for this person to grow in the prophetic gift and to be an intercessor for them. I felt a grumble in my spirit and that is when God started to show me, layer by layer areas of pride in my heart. The Lord began showing me how I had a competitive spirit with this person in the area of the prophetic. He showed me how He had intentionally recognized this person in my presence many times and had not recognized me to expose pride and envy in my heart. Jesus help me to take the lowest seat so that You can be made first.
A few days after this I was riding in a car with another friend when she asked me if I would share a dream I had recently. So I began sharing it with her and was hurt by her reaction to the dream. The dream was about my destiny and the promises of God in my life and she reacted as if she couldn’t believe anyone like me could ever be used of God in this way. So how did I respond? I argued with her about this. I showed her the many other confirmations the Lord had given me about this. I was deeply offended in my heart that she felt this way about me.
Again, the next day, I was in my kitchen when the Lord brought that scenario up. Ugggghhhhh…. here we go again. Why did I feel the need to argue about this with someone? The Lord was again exposing pride and arrogance in my heart. Not only that, but He began showing me that I needed to be very careful about who I shared His secrets with and the motivations behind sharing them in the first place.
So I’m buckling my seatbelt and allowing Holy Spirit to “catch the foxes that ruin the vines” but learning to do this while leaning in love.
Cheers to the new journal phase.
Last night I had a long talk with my (earthly) dad about a very hurtful situation that is happening right now. I’ve had two moments of significant betrayal in my life. One when I was twelve years old and another when I was 23. For the first time, my dad and I were able to sort through the situation that happened when I was a kid. For the first time I was able to hear the whole story and I was able to share with him some things that happened to me in the midst of that in which he never knew about.
I was up last night weeping about the trail of blood that has been left behind in the aftermath of this current situation. Not just my own minor feeling of betrayal but the pain many others must be feeling, namely a certain family. I was up until about 5am as Jesus walked me back through that original moment of betrayal as a child. The Lord spoke to me that all of the reactions I’ve had to pain from others or even perceived affliction from others were actually reactions from the incident when I was 12 years old. As I allowed the Lord to meet me in that time and space when true anger and rage built a well in my heart and a wall around my spirit… I made a decision. I chose to forgive. I chose to love. To subconciously still be living in that incident 17 years later had been a waste of my heart.
To extend mercy is compassion. It’s not our own shallow version of subconscious, self-seeking humanitarianism. True compassion says to a repentant soul: “Jesus poured His mercy on me, and in turn I want to be like Him and extend the same gift to you. He has forgotten my sin and now I will forget yours.” There is grace for the process of forgiveness depending on the depth of the wound inflicted. Jesus is patient as we sort out the dilemmas of our broken hearts. And most importantly, He clearly promises to redeem ALL things. This is where true hope lies. No matter the weight of darkness that surrounds us. No matter the depth of sin we’ve been victimized by. No matter the pain of knowing of we have hurt our loved ones in the greatest ways imaginable….
He is our hope. The only true hope. And one day He will remove pain and destruction and sin and He will wipe it from this planet forever.
I grew up a pastor’s kid in a moderately to highly conservative pentecostal denomination. Not only was I a pastor’s kid but I had a terrible case of “middle child syndrome”. Other than my strong-willed stubbornness and my messy bedroom, I was more or a less a perfect child. I had a high-level performance mentality in the face of many legalistic people that attended my parents church. To step foot in a movie theater, my family had to drive an hour west of our small town to Duluth, MN… just in case someone from our church spotted their pastor’s family entering the local theater. To even watch television commercials… any television commercials were a sin to some in our church. When my mom was a teenager, attending the same denomination, her pastor once spoke on the “evils of wire-rimmed glasses”. Humorously, she was the only one in the building wearing wire-rimmed glasses. If any of the three of us (my brothers and I) were spotted doing anything even remotely “unholy”, it would usually spread like wildfire throughout our church. Fortunately for me, because I was such a “good girl”, these conversations usually weren’t about me. I made sure they never were. I wasn’t all Martha though. I loved the Lord and I knew He loved me (as long as I remained perfect, however). I had an intimate prayer life from the age of 12 when I made a conscious decision to give my life completely to Jesus.
…Until I turned 18, that is ,and began to make some bad choices. I continued to make bad choices for quite awhile after that. The more bad choices I made, the worse my life became and the more I was convinced that God had turned His back on me because I was such a horrible, horrible sinner. Even His kindness, I interpreted as His “career choice”. He pursued me because He was God and I was a sinner and I needed help. I never once thought it had anything to do with the fact that He had a burning jealousy over my life. There was never a moment where I thought that He delighted in me even in my terrible struggle with sin. In fact, I thought He might have even hated me. “Dark but lovely” was a completely foreign concept to me.
Over these last several years I’ve found one concept that I know to be true. Jesus doesn’t just put up with me. The cross proves that. Who on earth would die such a ghastly death on purpose unless they were motivated by true love? Without His grace, without community, without the knowledge of His patient, kind love toward me I would never be making the ever so slow journey toward wholeness in my life. To receive that grace, I first have to acknowledge my need, acknowledge my sin, turn from it to Him and know that once I have done this, He has erased it from His memory. It’s not proof that I’ll never make those mistakes again (though, I pray that I do not), but my desire is to love Him the way that He loves me. To choose Him over myself. Our sin put Him on the cross. It’s not in condemnation that we pursue holiness... it’s out of love.
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes [c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, [g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong, [h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors. (ISAIAH 53… TNIV)
I was about 10 years old when I first read this passage in my little pink Precious Moments Bible and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “Dad! This is about Jesus!!!”
“Yep. That was written before He even came to earth.” Dad replied.
“WHOA!!!!” I couldn’t contain my awe and my dad got such a kick out of the conversation, he later used it as a sermon illustration.
After that moment, Isaiah 53 was my most favorite passage in the Bible. Not only did it prove that Jesus was the true Messiah, and savior of the world but He was a real person. Yes… He was God but He was also a real man that got sad like I did sometimes. He had been rejected and made fun of and mocked… yet he was sinless. He always reacted perfectly.
Jesus hung out with a rough crowd. Even his own apostles were kind of lower-level society, including a tax collector; a profession that was hated by the religious elite of the time. In a time when women were viewed as a piece of property, He spoke to women as equals and not only nice, upstanding women but prostitutes and women of “ill repute”.
These people didn’t hang out with Jesus because they thought of Him as a fellow comrade who they could continue to participate in sin with. Everywhere that Jesus went, miracles, signs and wonders followed Him. He healed broken bodies, raised the dead and like the woman at the well in John 4, unveiled the secrets of her heart and told her “everything that she ever did”. That’s why people followed Him. He was a relational man but just being “relational” doesn’t mean you’re going to make a dent in the Kingdom. If Jesus had not been moving in the power manifested through His own love for the people, all of these “scoundrels” of his day would not have given a rip about who He was. He spoke with power and authority and a deep abiding compassion and love that no one had ever seen before. When He spoke it wasn’t just about “tolerance” and He certainly didn’t bring a message of “false peace”. When a sinner was healed of some affliction, He simply said “go and sin no more. Your sins are forgiven.” No where did He say “I’m going to die soon for the sins you’ve committed so now that you’re healed, isn’t it great that you can sin and not have to pay for it any longer?”
We know that the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day hated Jesus to the point that they murdered Him. Was it really because He challenged the man-made laws that they created to puff themselves up, or was it something even deeper than that? In Matthew 5:17, Jesus makes a very controversial statement: “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”. The religious leaders were great at making ridiculous, tedious laws to give them an external appearance of holiness but the more of these laws that were made, the less they had to deal with what was on the inside of their own hearts. In reality, they were twisting scripture by adding to it and subtracting from it so that they could continue to live in compromise and sin, and Jesus was exposing them for the frauds that they were. This pride and refusal to see truth resulted in the death of Jesus.