Sometime towards the end of last year a ministry I served in for years had a sexual scandal issue that led to its literal end. That event broke the heart of a lot of people who served in that ministry. We were faced with questions we couldn’t answer. Questions like “was our leader even called of God in the first place? Was our years of service worth it?”. We felt deceived and used. And the enemy didn’t just attack our shepherd but he scattered the sheepfold. I am not writing this to point accusing fingers at my one-time ministry leader but to drive home the point that a person can appear to have a good reputation before man but before God, he is found wanting. It is a pity that this is the case of a lot of people today. On the outside, we are perceived by men as fervent lovers of Christ but our secret deeds attest to the contrary. Jesus Christ calls such people hypocrites.
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts! “Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.Matthew 23:25-28 TPT
Just in case you didn’t take the time to read the above scripture I want you to please do so.
You have to understand the fact that the Pharisees and Scribes in Jesus earthly days were men who knew the law — that is, they knew God’s word and they taught it to people. The only issue they had was that they didn’t pay attention to living by the word and they ignored the state of their heart. They were more concerned about preserving their reputation before men and cared less about having a stand with God. Unlike Jesus who did the opposite by “doing” what the word says before “teaching” it (Acts 1:1).
I know you might have attended a lot of Christian meetings. You might even have gotten to the point where you lead and teach God’s people in one capacity or the other but can you say that you pay attention to the “doing” part like you do the “teaching”? It is not enough for you to be a teacher of God’s word or God’s child, you must make a conscious effort to practice what you teach.
God is more concerned about your heart and what He sees when He looks at you than your reputation before men.
Jesus called the attention of the Pharisees to their heart because He knows that if the heart and spirit are made new, there will be newness of life. So also, if you will experience the fullness of God’s life you must not lose your virtue of sincerity before God. You must constantly present your heart to Him for scrutiny.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
David prayed in the above scripture for God to search His heart. God knows the content of every man’s heart. He is willing to cleanse every filthy heart and He can give a heart of flesh for a heart of stone if such heart would be presented to Him.
Jesus called the Pharisees lawless because they failed to acknowledge their sin. They lived in a state of constant sin. Have you also failed to acknowledge your sin before God because you still have the applause of men? It is better to be on the Lord’s side than to please men. Choose today to humble yourself before God. Allow Him to correct, discipline, and teach you that you may yield the fruit of righteousness and peace.
And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws you to himself, it proves you are his delightful child.” Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons. And isn’t it true that we respect our earthly fathers even though they corrected and disciplined us? Then we should demonstrate an even greater respect for God, our spiritual Father, as we submit to his life-giving discipline. Our parents corrected us for the short time of our childhood as it seemed good to them. But God corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, giving us an invitation to share his holiness. Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.Hebrews 12:5-11
Lastly, whatever it is you are struggling with bring it to the open. Sin thrives in secrecy. Seek to be accountable to a trusted and mature believer around you who would walk the path to your liberty with you. God can grant you freedom from the bondage of sin, you only need to allow Him. Grace to you!