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Chapter 11 - Measuring Hypocrisy

'Humility is the proper estimate of oneself.' - Charles Spurgeon

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. - Romans 12:3

We may not have come as far as the Pharisees in contamination with the leaven of hypocrisy so that we steal widows homes from them, but we all have drifted from our Savior, the truth, and faithfulness at different times and to different degrees. It can be helpful then to consider what indicators there might be to warn us if we are starting to become inflated with the leaven of hypocrisy.

One measure of our Christian faith and assurance of salvation is our 'love of the brethren'.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. - John 13:35

If we have contempt, mock, or are smug in regard to our brothers in Christ, it may indicate we are not even Christian. However it can also indicate that we have come under the influence of pride and have been led to a point of 'play-acting' superiority.

Another measure of our spiritual condition can be the interest or lack of it in Godís word.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? - Luke 24:32

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. - Psalm 119:50

As we drift further from our Lord, his words become less clear and even irrelevant to that with which we are preoccupied. We can give perfunctory acknowledgment to the worth of his words, but they seem to find little purchase in our hearts. Christians in particular can be quite zealous for a particular bible translation. They can even memorize many verses. However, our great external concern may hide the fact the Godís word has little effect on our lives or in our hearts.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. - Matthew 15:8

We all too often measure the external such as works and accomplishments. We can even overvalue the declaration of belief. It is really what is in the heart at the core of our being that is the true measure of our spiritual condition.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. - Matthew 12:34

To measure the condition of the heart one has to weigh the volume and character of words. Do we too often speak of ourselves, our desires, our accomplishments, or do we speak of the wonders of the Lord and the many blessings he has bestowed. Do our words mirror an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness or do we complain and mock.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: - Proverbs 23:7a

We tend to measure things by detecting whether it is present or not. Like a broken bone, one either has it or one does not. It is often easy to dismiss something like hypocrisy since we see it as an intentional act and dismiss it because we do not see ourselves as culpable.

We often fail to see hypocrisy (in the Greek sense of play acting) as something that happens to us as opposed to something we do. When we give consideration to the process of what might be called 'leavening' we see the danger that Jesus was warning of, that of being slowly diverted from him into a world where self reigns supreme as evidenced by the delusional condition of the Pharisees.

Churches can encourage a sort of 'dormant' Christianity where having been assured of a heavenly destination, one just waits out the clock. The bible gives a different picture of the Christian life. There are many verbs used that imply an activity level that is seldom reached.

Seeking - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Matthew 6:33

Crying out - So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. - Proverbs 2:2-5

Surrendering - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 12:1-2

Following - And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. - Luke 9:23

There is an expectation of activity in the life of a Christian that is often unfulfilled. Sometimes this is because of bad teaching. Sometimes it is the result of distracted attention. It can also be a result of a person not even being a Christian. However, it can also be a result of 'leaven' that has started to grow in a life like barnacles on the hull of a ship. As time progresses less and less headway is made until things slow to a stop. Unfortunately, this condition of Christian paralysis can be masked by a flurry of business with committees, programs, events, and even classes.


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