“. . . for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; . . .” Mark 12:40
Daily we make choices that are either constant or contrary to the presence of Jesus. In the life of every true disciple, there is to be an internal continuity, where the need for approval from others diminishes in proportion to our fidelity to Christ. The vision of Jesus is the kingdom of God and every disciple is to buy into His vision by staking their life on it.
The kingdom of Jesus is not a concept, rather it’s concrete, visible and shaped by the personal life of its citizens. A life that does not result in devoted service, suffering, discipleship and genuine love is a total illusion. One who claims to know Jesus, yet lives incongruent to the faith of Jesus, is a poser. Jesus warns us not to allow our lives to lapse into legalism, spiritual superiority and sanctimonious moralism.
Jesus exposes some of the notorious ways of the teachers of the law – their flamboyant dress, their love of praise of other people, their love of money disguised as a concern for the widows, their long-winded prayers designed to make people think they were more spiritual than they really were. Jesus, with strong forceful words sums up His comments by saying, “such will be punished.”
Of all the sins, none is worse than hypocrisy. It’s one thing to struggle with lusts and illicit passions, but it’s even worse to cloak our sin by pretending to have a relationship with Jesus, all the while, living for the world.
The way of Jesus is radical realness, fierce honesty and sincere faith. We may be able to fool those around us with religious talk, a few Christian clichés and show of hospitality, but God is not mocked. He discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart. He sees through all glitz of gospel-speak used to cover an empty heart.
Hypocrisy is a delusion we must guard against. By professing what’s not believed or felt, we bring Christianity into contempt. Theology serves no purpose if it’s not wrapped in the flesh of heart and life.
Are you a poser?