Thursday, January 26, 2006

embrace the hypocritical self

And so the Lord says, "These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote. 14 Because of this, I will do wonders among these hypocrites. I will show that human wisdom is foolish and even the most brilliant people lack understanding."
Isaiah 29:13-14 (NLT)

Yesterday we talked about the amazing, authentic life of Jesus. He is the “wonder” that God has done to change our plastic hearts. Jesus makes us new and real.

Do you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want people to respond to you differently? Would you like to be more influential and effective in life? One of the things that made Jesus so compelling to those around Him was that He had zero integrity gaps. He was exactly what He claimed to be and people could not help but be drawn to Him. He changed everything.

When I look at the life of Jesus, I see someone who had a secure understanding of who He was. He did not allow fear or pride to cause Him to act inconsistently with who He really was. The people who happened to be standing in front of Him at any given moment were not intimidating so as to draw out of Him the need to impress or put on airs.

As we become more like Jesus, we are not guided by the external opinions and influences around us. Rather, we are guided from within, from the still small voice of God’s spirit who leads us to be more purpose centered. Life lived centered on a God-given purpose contributes to feeling better about ourselves. We begin to transcend our own hypocrisy; closing the gap between who we say we are and the behavior that says we are something else.

In this process of victory over self, we feel more integrity, and we feel more whole and thus, more like Jesus. Our values and behavior are becoming more congruent. What is going on inside of me matches how I act in my life. And that connects me with a sense of confidence and stability few experience. I become less self-focused and more others-focused. Selfishness begins to subside and I begin to put the good of others ahead of personal interests or preferences.

What happens next is I begin to feel even better about myself. What does this do? It makes me even more capable of being genuinely concerned for others and thus even more like Jesus. I sense the freedom to be more transparent and authentic. My relationships increase in meaning, trust, and caring. I am now receiving even more energy from God. If I continue on this path, I believe grace and strength from God keep spiraling upward and lift me to new heights of personhood.

What I see around me is largely influenced by my own state of being. When I change deeply and become more like Jesus, I see a different world. I behave differently and the world around me begins to respond differently. I am no longer hypocritical and others sense the authenticity which gives me influence and the possibility to do them tremendous good. If I am judgmental or critical it only accentuates my weakness and results in a loss of respect for who I am.

But when I monitor my own hypocrisy, (not everyone else’s) I can use the conviction the Holy Spirit provides as fuel to change. I can confess my sin, be forgiven, completely cleansed, and choose to close the gap in my integrity. If I don’t hide the hypocritical self, (trust me-other’s see Him if you don’t) but embrace the truth about my hypocrisy, I can not only be transformed myself but also be a powerful agent of change and inspiration to others.

May our courage and integrity replace our cowardice and hypocrisy. May our new Christ-like self serve as a catalyst of change for those around us. May they sense the real life that you give in our daily lives as we live them for you. May the wonderful life of Jesus be lived through us today.

Keepin it real,

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