This week, I volunteered to contribute a devotional to my bible study group. I had signed up weeks ago and for whatever reason, an internal voice kept pointing me to speak on hypocritical Christians. Each time I tried to think of a less controversial subject, I would be lead to the perfect article or blog post about hypocrites in the Christian community. I even came across a well-written devotional, one that I felt was appropriate for this topic, but I had to come up with something from my own heart. So I prayed on it, and thought about it quite frequently, just waiting for all the right words to hit me at once, like they so often do. Then one night, my pen hit the paper and the words flowed gracefully.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
You are the light of the world…
As Christians, we are a light and the world is watching us. Even in just our small part of the world, we have family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, teammates and acquaintances that may look to us as an example of God’s light. So often, I hear heartbreaking stories about people who have been intentionally and deeply hurt by someone of Christian faith.
In Romans 3:10, it says “None is righteous, no, not one…” so there are no perfect people and as human beings, we have a natural inclination to sin. For me personally, it is easier to just yell when I’m frustrated or angry. It’s much harder to remain calm and patient. So no one is perfect, but we shouldn’t just brush off our flaws because we aren’t perfect. We have to be diligent about our character. What we do and what we say really does matter because it is a direct reflection of Jesus, who is supposed to be our life’s road map to follow.
We live in a generation where there are so many people who say that they believe. They serve and worship in church like they believe, but in the world outside, no one they encounter would ever know it because they are not living their lives for God.
It is one thing to believe in Jesus, it’s another thing entirely to surrender. We should submit our hearts for Him to change us, allow Him to completely overhaul our souls for His greater purpose. In turn, we let go of our judgments and hypocrisy, we purge our doubts and fears, anger and hate. When we let those things go, God will replace them with acceptance, honesty, faith, confidence, forgiveness, grace, peace and joy. Our goal should be to fill up so full of good virtues that people will look to us and want what we have. After all, Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
We could be the person that stands in the gap between a beloved non-believer and Jesus…How can we ever expect anyone to follow our lead out of darkness if we ourselves are not a good light?
Years ago, I was a hypocritical Christian. I believed in God, but I was so far from Him that I was anything but a light for others. It took time, but one day, I realized that following Jesus isn’t just about a prayer you say at the end of the night or attending church on Sundays; He is about a true heart change and when I realized this, He gave me a completely different view on life and how I live it. This is not to say I’m perfect; every single day, I fight a spiritual battle and sometimes, the devil wins. The difference is that when I fall to the wayside today, I’m more apt to be aware of it and I examine the moment where I went off the path and look for where I could have done it differently, then I use that experience if I’m ever at that same crossroad again in the future. I no longer hide behind a motto of no perfect people, because Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me, so I could blindly live a life that hurts God’s heart.
For each and every one of us who claims to walk the ways of the cross, but exemplifies the ways of the world, there needs to be a change. As Christians, we are called to love God and love others. Each and every other commandment God ever set for us falls under the umbrella of those two. If we can just start with love, this world would be a whole lot brighter.
It’s time we put away the hypocrisy and be the light Jesus called us to be.