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Friday, May 28, 2010

Confessions of a Christian Hypocrite

Many Christians do not really care who they are. They are more concerned with how they look. They are not concerned whether they have lied but whether or not anyone knows it is a lie. They care more about how people perceive them than how they really are. Privately, they compare themselves to others and give themselves pretty good grades.

How do I know these things? Because I do this more often than I would like to admit. I am not striving to become like Jesus as much as I am trying to be perceived as becoming like Jesus. I am a hypocrite.

Hypocrites don't know where the battle should be fought. We hypocrites so often think that our battle is with the flesh. We think that we must become like Christ by our own efforts. Therefore, we get out our Bibles, read them and believe this action will change us. It doesn't. The proof is in our hearts. So much of us remains the same after we mechanically do the right things.

That doesn't lessen the importance of the disciples. Bible reading, study, meditation, prayer, fasting and spiritual pilgrimage are important to making us like Christ but they will never change us to a Christ-like state as long as we don't take every thought captive. They will never be adequate as long as we are willing to sweep the dirt under the rug. The strongholds that exist in our lives will always exist as long as we hide who we really are to ourselves and others.

Strongholds are our weaknesses which tacitly believe will never be erased. They are our lack of faith in a God who can change us completely. They represent our sharp tongues, pride (maybe in only certain areas), selfishness, addictions or any myriad of weaknesses which spiritual forces can influence us. They are the temptations that demons use against us when nothing else will work.

We try to cover these things rather than eliminate them because we do not believe they can be eliminated. Thus, we have the real reason we are such hypocrites. My faith will not accept the removal of my weakness, yet I do not want others to know it exists. I hide it so that I do not present myself as one who needs correction. I condemn it in others because I have deceived myself into believing that hiding my weakness is the same as eliminating it. I present myself as a victor over something that is beating me. I am like the politician who calls a defeat a victory so he will not look weak to his constituents.

Yet, I know the truth. So, I take every thought captive. This is the real means of defeating these strongholds. Not one bit of them can deceive me anymore. Not one shred can be tolerated if I am to have victory. I strive to do so until I am completely His. I will until I truly act with the character of my Lord.

This is not about being perfect though some will think it is. It is about being completely honest. It is about being completely His. God has not provided for forgiveness and cleansing from unrighteousness because He has desired perfection on earth. Continual cleansing is unnecessary for anyone who remains sealed from fault. We may not be of this world but we will certainly live in it. We will be stained from the spill of sin into our lives. However, my victory over strongholds will make me fully aware of my failures so that cleansing will be my normative activity. I will no longer pretend to be clean when I am not.

You know, I am really tired of being a closet hypocrite. However, I don't want to come out. I just want to stop being one.

2 Corinthians 10: 4-6 (ESV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

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