“Hypocrisy turns people away from God. . . . when people enter a church to see God yet can’t see God because of the church, don’t think for a second that God doesn’t react.”- Max Lucado
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”- Matthew 6:1 (MSG)
In Chapter 9 (“Do Good, Quietly”) of Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado tackles the subject of hypocrisy. Specifically, Max refers to the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). Thus, Max notes, Luke tells us that Ananias and Sapphira:
- used the church to promote themselves
- leveraged God’s family for personal gain
- attempted to turn a congregation into a personal stage across which they could strut
Furthermore, Pastor Lucado observes, when Jesus used the word hypocrisy, people ducked for cover. Hence, when Jesus encountered a religious hypocrite, He flipped on the spotlight to expose them. Because, Max asserts, it’s a serious offense to do good to be seen. For hypocrisy turns people away from God.
Therefore, Pastor Lucado offers three tips to take hypocrisy seriously:
- Expect no credit for good deeds. Zero. Hence, you don’t feel disappointed if no one notices. Also, you give the credit to God if someone does.
- Give financial gifts in secret. Money, Max stresses, tends to stir the phony within us. As a result, we like people to see us earning – and giving – money.
- Don’t fake spirituality. As Max quips, “If you raise your hands in worship, raise holy ones, not showy ones.”
In conclusion, Pastor Lucado encourages:
“If accolades come, politely deflect them before you believe them. Slay the desire to be noticed. Stir the desire to serve God. . . . Focus on the inside, and the outside will take care of itself. Lay your motives before God daily, hourly. . . . Do good things. Just don’t do them to be noticed. You can be too good for your own good, you know.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you glorify God with your good works? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Target audience of Jesus = the Nazareth Manifesto”