Have you ever been deeply grieved by people who say they love Jesus but clearly don’t live the full truth of Scripture?
I’m not talking about those who admit their weaknesses and work to overcome sin, becoming more like Christ. I mean people those who pick out the Bible verses they want to follow and ignore the ones they don’t like. Or those who live two lives; the person they are at church on Sunday is totally different from who they are during the week.
In Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus warns there will be many who profess to follow Him but it’s all for show; they really don’t have a relationship with Him. The Pharisees who made religion all about rules, the 5 virgins who couldn’t be bothered to stay alert for the return of the groom, the man who was given talents only to hide them instead of invest in the future – none of them truly cared about Jesus and made His Kingdom a priority.
They appeared to do things right, but Jesus stated He will not reward them.
In my devotions the other morning, the writer discussed the difference between how we appear on the outside, and who we truly are on the inside. If we have been in church very long, we can easily learn how to behave in ways or speak with phrases that draw acceptance or admiration.
Keeping up pretense is not that hard.
Recently disheartened by several ‘fake’ people and ‘false’ leaders around me, I turned to prayer, asking God how I ought to respond. In my grief, God reminded me that those who sin will be found out (Numbers 32:23).
There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, or anything done in secret that will not be brought out into the open (Luke 8:17).
The Bible says that God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance (1Sam 16:7). He knows who is really His, and who is merely putting up appearances. Just because people play the part well – just because they go to church and quote lots of Scripture and serve in ministry and present a perfect family – that doesn’t make them a faithful follower.
These actions may appear to be good fruit, but in the end, Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats (Matt 25:31-46).
Each person will be rewarded according to how they lived on earth.
The real question is, which am I?
A sheep, one who fully and completely loves the Lord and follows all truths in Scripture?
Or a goat, one who only plays the part of a good Christian and follows portions of the Bible?
I may not be able to do much about the fake people who pretend to be good and twist God’s Word to rationalize sin. But I can refuse to live that way. I can be sure:
- That I’m always authentic: that who I am in private is who I am in public.
- That I love Jesus with everything in me, and seek Him every day through constant prayer and reading His Word.
- That I don’t claim to have it all together or try to appear perfect, instead living secure in His abounding love and amazing grace.
- That I never hide my sins or struggles, but repent often and seek help from godly friends and leaders when I need it.
- That I’m sensitive to the Holy Spirit, seeking God’s will in every aspect of my life rather than living by my flesh or feelings.
One thing God has taught me as a writer is to never be fake or water down His truth. There are enough pretenders and false teachers out there; God is calling imperfect people to tell their testimonies.
What about you? Are you one of His sheep, or a goat?