Monday, October 21, 2013

Not Playing the Actor

Sometimes we don’t want to do something, but we know we must do it because it is the right thing to do. There are some who might call this hypocritical, but in doing this they have a very twisted sense of what the word really means. The word hypocrite in Greek has the meaning of feigning, pretending, or acting. It speaks of the person who says he believes one way, yet in secret he does differently. It is someone who puts on a show in order to impress or gain favor or maybe even not lose that favor which he already has.

Jesus spoke about hypocrites several times, and probably one of the most memorable times to many of us is found in Mathew chapter 6, where we read,

"(5) “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (6) “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

(7) “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (8) “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

(9) “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

(14) “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

(16) “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (17) “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face (18) so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5–18, NASB95)

Clearly as you read the words of Jesus, the heart of the issue is the contrast between those who live and proclaim one thing in public and then maintain a totally different life at home or in secret. It has nothing to do with the struggle we sometimes have between aligning our will with the will of God, or even submitting our desires to the desires of others and particularly to those in authority over us or whom we are called before God to honor.

Depending on the translation you read, Romans 12:9 is both stated in a negative form and a positive form. In the negative we are told to let our love be without hypocrisy, and in the positive we are told to let our love be genuine or sincere. The Greek word used is a derivative of the word hypocrisy with a prefix giving the meaning of “un-” or un-hypocritical, and someone who is un-hypocritical, not being an actor or a pretender, is someone who is honest, genuine, or sincere.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9, NASB95)

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9, ESV)

Today Sarah wrote about our rebellious tendencies. These are the times when we might want to listen to our own desires and not those of God or others. In response to this conflict, we should be mindful that submitting to doing what we know is the right thing to do is not being hypocritical; it is being honorable and genuine even if our feelings at the time do not line up.

Hypocrisy is and always has been about being the actor, and our God knows our every thought and intention. He knows when we are playing the actor. We can’t fool Him, no matter what kind of a show we put on. Giving Him lip service about obedience when we have no intention of doing so—that is sin and it is playing the role of the hypocrite. Similarly, letting God know that we don’t want to do something, but we are willing and going to do it because it is His will and the right thing that is honoring to Him.

Peter, when he was brought before the governor for what he had been saying, included in his response, “In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” (Acts 24:16, NASB95) Peter knew he was being watched by those who would trap him in a discrepancy, but more than that Peter sought to honor God in all that he said and did. Like Peter, we should seek not live a pretentious life before God or man.

And when we fail in this, admit it. Confess it before God and where need be, deal with it with others. That is genuine living.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/21)

To live in My Presence consistently, you must expose and expel your rebellious tendencies. When something interferes with your plans or desires, you tend to resent the interference. Try to become aware of each resentment, however petty it may seem. Don’t push those unpleasant feelings down; instead, let them come to the surface where you can deal with them. Ask My Spirit to increase your awareness of resentful feelings. Bring them boldly into the Light of My Presence, so that I can free you from them.

The ultimate solution to rebellious tendencies is submission to My authority over you. Intellectually you rejoice in My sovereignty, without which the world would be a terrifying place. But when My sovereign will encroaches on your little domain of control, you often react with telltale resentment.

The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Remember that all good things – your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time – are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23–24, NASB95)

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Peter 5:6, NASB95)

“He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”” (Job 1:21, NASB95)

No comments: