“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
My heart is heavy this morning. It has been for quite some time. There are concepts in God’s word that I’m just not mature enough to understand fully – and they create internal conflict.
Matthew 7:21 [True and False Disciples]
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
We will never amount to anything more than being sinners saved by grace. We can’t get good enough to deserve or earn heaven. We will never have access to the Father without going to The Son.
But as an addict in recovery who battles daily for adherence to the tenets of love as presented in God’s word and more often than I’d like to admit coming up far short of that mark… how can we differentiate our heart from that of a Pharisee?
I propose that the Pharisee were under the impression that just because they “knew” the law that truly believed they were “living by” the law.
It was a deep-seeded blindness to their own hearts that amounted to nothing more than arrogant hypocrisy.
Jesus constantly was trying to reveal to them their own wicked hearts but they were ignorant to their own behaviors. They would preach the Word then do the exact opposite.
How much in our own lives do we do the same thing?
I can preach about the evils of gossip then complain about family members or co-workers with a tone that indicates I see myself as “better than” them. As if pointing out their faults to a 3rd person under the guise of concern is anything less than gossip.
Or I can talk about the need for personal time in prayer and meditation with the Lord and in His word necessity of taking time to hear His voice in the quiet still places yet spend 2 hours playing an IOS game or surfing Facebook and then complain “I don’t have time for God”.
Or I can exhort the brothers in my men’s groups about the evils of lust, idolatry, jealousy, anger and pride and then on the drive home from church look at the other cars on the road and wonder why I have to drive such a junky car. And at the same time admire the summer outfits barely on the ladies and then drive through nice neighborhoods in route to my studio apartment with no kitchen and find myself filled with lust and jealousy all the while daydreaming about how my job doesn’t pay me enough to live the life I deserve and feel resentment toward my employer.
What sets my heart above those I profess to love and pray for? For those who I wish would wake up because “they” are the ones who are messing up their own lives with their bad attitudes and behaviors and then wonder why my life is such a struggle.
How am I any different?
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
I feel like God has been showing me that I abuse my head knowledge of the gospel and recovery materials to make myself feel worthy and deserving of salvation and blessings.
Shame and lack of self-worth issues are the heart of the narrative written on an addicts soul and “religiosity” and “teaching” can be the most dangerous form of idolatry and hypocrisy.
It’s like a medical doctor who is 300 lbs and smokes. It would clearly indicate he doesn’t believe his own advice to others. Yes his advice may be sound, and his prescriptions may save lives; but what happens to his own body in the end? And how much is his message diminished when looking at his condition?
And so it is for the Christian, especially those in leadership who can teach and preach a good message but then in the next breath outside of the limelight cave in to fleshly desires.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We are justified by faith but is not sanctification a partnership? Don’t we have a role to play in who we become?
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
What areas of our lives are we entirely too casually writing off as “human nature” and not surrendering to the authority and power of Jesus Christ to redeem?
What motivations of my own heart am I no different than a Pharisee thinking that just because I understand the concept I am fooled into thinking I’m living by those precepts?
Father God I confess this morning that there are areas of my life that I may profess to be weak in yet I still have no idea the depth of my own prideful and hypocritical depravity that still operates in arrogance to control and justify my behaviors. All I can do Lord as this awareness creeps in is confess and repent and yet again surrender at the foot of Your Cross. I believe my motives are pure but my heart remains deceitful. Only You can first reveal this to me and then by Your mercy and power grant me the faith to run to You alone in those times when I reach for my own value system. You alone Jesus are my redemption and salvation; please help me never believe that I am more than I am and may I learn more sacrificially to walk as Your redeemed. In Jesus’ precious and all powerful name I pray…