I’ve been a follower of Christ for years and all this time I would always think of doing things to please God because I believe I will be rewarded, favored, and be the person to look up to.
This year my friends encouraged me to watch on YouTube some messages of Judah Smith, pastor of The City Church in Seattle, Washington and I was so blessed watching and listening to it. My friend’s mom also gave me one of the book that Pastor Judah wrote entitled “Jesus is ______”.
Let me share with you a part that caught my attention while reading the book.
House of Hypocrites
Being a Christian is not about being good. It’s about relationship. About grace. About Jesus. Jesus is the point of life.
That’s where true rest comes in. We will never be at rest as long as we are carrying the burden of trying to please God by our good deeds. That is as impossible as it is unnecessary. Jesus was the only one who could, and already did it, so we need to learn to rest in his completed work.
I’ve heard Christians talk about the “be perfect” verse we just looked at, and they say, “See? With Jesus, the requirements are even higher than under the law. So you better get busy. You better get your holy on. You have a long way to go, brother.”
It’s amazing to me that sometimes we leave church more obsessed with self than when we came in. That should never be the result of the gospel. When you’ve heard the gospel, you get obsessed with Jesus, because it points to him.
“We shouldn’t be like the scribes and Pharisees,” people say. “We shouldn’t be hypocrites. We have to make sure we are more righteous than they were.”
Where do we get these ideas? Let’s not fool ourselves. We are already hypocrites. All Christians everywhere are hypocrites. I don’t mean to insult anyone, but think about it. If we preach one thing and live another, that’s hypocrisy, so we have all been hypocrites at one time or another. We might as well rename our church the House of Hypocrites.
When it came to holiness, the Pharisees were professionals. They had memorized the first five books of the Old Testament, which included hundreds of laws. They spent the day planning and plotting how to fulfill every detail of the law. Like the Israelites of the day, most of us don’t stand a chance of being as holy as they were, much less being holier. We can work ourselves to the bone attempting to please God, but we will fail.
I’m the biggest hypocrite. Hypocrisy is an occupational hazard for preachers, because we talk so much. I’ve preached to my church about the importance of loving your spouse and being patient and controlling your words-and then on the way out of the door, I find myself snapping at Chelsea.
I’m not excusing myself, because it is wrong and I’m embarrassed I still struggle with my big mouth. But I’m not going to adopt an attitude of false humility: “I’m not worthy of being a pastor. I will never preach again.” I was never worthy in the first place. It’s not about me. It’s about God. About grace and about helping people in my city and my church meet Jesus…
I actually finished reading the book months ago but last week I tried reading it again and this one reminded me so much and just the previous days, I had a meaningful conversations with my best friend which is relevant to being a great pretender. Usually we would just talk about our struggles, problems, and some things that burdens us. Hahaha! We would rather be known as honest sinners than lying hypocrites. We love to do it. It’s one way of releasing.
During our talk I asked him, “If there will be a House of Hypocrites, do you think you’re in or out?”
He said, “I think I am in, or out. I don’t know, I think we are all hypocrites one way or another.” Then we realized that maybe if you’re a follower of Christ then you cannot be a hypocrite anymore because you are covered by His righteousness already. That if you just let Him work in you, you don’t have to pretend at all, because you’re no longer living by yourself, you have denied it long ago when you encounter Him.
Many times I get frustrated on living here on earth perfectly especially when I know that I have a perfect father. I feel like I have always messed up, that I have this thing called insanity, like doing the same thing (mistake) over and over again. I would always tell myself that I am not going to do it again, I would sometimes lean on my own understanding, my own strategy on how to overcome such frustration.
I guess I should remember that I don’t have to do anything in order for me to be worthy before God, I will never be counted worthy except if I have accepted His son. Pleasing Him should not be my motivation while serving. It should be what He has done on the cross. His love. His grace. His forgiveness.
There is no need to be the know-it-all person, to be a superhuman, to be famous. He doesn’t require any of it. Why? Because when He looks at you He sees Jesus and He is pleased.
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