Friday, August 1, 2014

Open Heavens Devotional for Friday 1st August, 2014: ARE YOU A HYPOCRITE?


Memorise: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matthew 6:5

Read: Mark 7:1-6
1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Hypocrisy is a type of behaviour in which a person pretends to have moral standards or opinions, but does not actually live by them. Hypocrisy is a decadence condemned by the church and society. Paradoxically, its manifestation is commonplace in both the church and the society. The Bible warns against and condemns hypocrisy in the strongest terms. Luke 11:44 says,

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.”

Hypocrisy is manifested in many ways. First, it is manifested in giving (Matthew 6:1-4). Giving is good and scriptural. A Christian is expected to give cheerfully, abundantly, sacrificially and lovingly. We should give our time, money, talents and energy for the expansion of the kingdom of God and the furtherance of His work on earth. However, when giving, a hypocrite is pretentious. He either gives sparingly while giving the impression of abundant giving, or refuses to give while at the same time passing off as the best giver. A hypocrite wants every act of his giving to be acknowledged in public. He engages in charitable work simply for self-aggrandisement. Are you a hypocrite? How do you give? What motives are behind your acts of charity?

A second area in which hypocrisy finds expression is in prayer. Prayer is an obligation, and God answers prayers. He enjoins us to ask and instructed us to pray without ceasing. The hypocrite prays. He however has a wrong motive for praying. He cannot be said to be praying to God. A hypocrite prays to be seen of men (Matthew 6:5). Hypocrites do not engage in secret prayers; they will only pray where men can see and acknowledge them as prayerful persons. What is the motive behind your prayers? When do you pray? Why do you pray? How do you pray? Do you limit your prayers to places where men can see or hear you pray? Do you pray to be acknowledged by men as a prayer warrior? 

A third area in which hypocrisy finds expression is in fasting. Fasting is scriptural. Christians should however not be hypocritical in fasting (Matthew 6:16). A hypocrite fasts in order to be seen by men. He announces his fast and does things to make men acknowledge the fast. This is unscriptural. Whenever you fast, let it be between you and God.

Finally a hypocrite is fraudulent. He is dubious, exploitative and through pretexts appears to be religious. Are you a hypocrite?

Action Point: If you notice any act of hypocrisy in your life, repent and turn a new leaf.

Bible in a Year: Matthew 19:1-21:27 ; Job 14:7-17


No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments here

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...