October 16, 2013

Isaiah 48:1 “Listen to this, O house of Jacob,
you who are called by the name of Israel
and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the LORD
and invoke the God of Israel –
but not in truth or righteousness –

The Bible is loaded with comments about, admonitions toward, and condemnation of hypocrites and hypocrisy. Jesus’ biggest arguments were with hypocrites, and they were the ones who had Him condemned to the cross. One of His most pointed stories was of an honest sinner and a self-righteous hypocrite. (Luke 18:10-14) He was widely criticized for associating with “sinners” by those who kept their sins secret! It isn’t uncommon today for people to disdain going to church, saying “The church is full of hypocrites.” Even if that is true, the person who says it is setting themselves up as better, and being hypocritical in the process! The opposite of hypocrisy is honest humility. God doesn’t dislike pious words or activity, but He looks at our hearts, and sees through our motives. Many people go to church for social reasons, to be seen as “upstanding” by those around them, rather than from any real desire to honor and worship God. As Jesus said about the Pharisees, “they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5) To go back to this verse, God doesn’t want us to stop taking our oaths in His Name or invoking Him, that is, making Him the foundation of our social structure, but He wants us to do it honestly, rather than as a cover for being rebellious against Him. This is very much the situation America is in right now. Around the time Congress added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, the nation as a whole veered off away from God. The phrase is good and admirable, but it must be backed up by recognition of God in the daily lives and actions of the citizens and the leaders.

It is easy to get all worked up about the state of America today, but I must not overlook my own tendencies in the same direction. That would be hypocritical! I think the increasingly open persecution of genuine Christians in America is a blessing, really, though I wish it weren’t needed. When it is no longer “politically correct” to state and live by a Biblical world view, then it becomes increasingly obvious who is a genuine Christian and who is not. Jesus calls us to follow Him at the cost of everything else, and even in America people are being presented with that choice. I’ve got to watch my own heart and life and seek humble honesty before my Lord. Only then will I be able to draw others to Him, for their salvation and His glory.

Father, this is a strong Word, but a very needed one. I have some real concerns about visiting the US at this point, but I know that You are still God, and are to be trusted totally. I pray that on this upcoming trip I may be Your agent, both to those who know me and those who don’t. May my words and my actions be in spirit and in truth, so that Your Spirit may operate through me on every level, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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