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Hypocrisy turns people away from God

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By Dave Henning / September 3, 2019

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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”

About the author

Dave Henning


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