This is a great reminder for those of us who are married.
Sometimes, we as Christians, and just people in general, have a hard time accepting the truth. We can see it, even know it, and yet still refuse to live by and accept it. We live in a world that likes to tell us that we can live according to our own truth, that we can make it up as we go along, or that we can just pick out the parts of it we like, and leave the rest of it. All of these things are ways of rationalizing our behavior. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word rationalize as:To devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for (one’s behavior). That’s a fancy, intellectual way of saying, that we just plain flat-out lie to ourselves. Some people become so good at it, they don’t even recognize that they’re doing it. Imagine living in a whole world full of people who are all telling themselves lies so that they can feel self-satisfied with their behavior…
Christians aren’t above this kind of behavior either, sad to say, and it’s because they’re not, that we have had to live with the world’s accusation that the church, the body of Christ, is filled with hypocrisy, and that many of us are hypocrites. In the ancient Greek theater, a hypocrite was one who wore a mask while playing a part on a stage in which he would imitate the walk, talk, and behavior typical of a character being played. It’s where we get the modern term “actor” from. In essence, he would be a religious fraud. I won’t deny that there are hypocrites in the church, but then there are hypocrites in the world, too.
Truth and hypocrisy go about as well together as peanut butter and sauerkraut, a striped blouse and polka-dot skirt, white wine at a tailgate party…. you know what I mean. Yet, so many people, both in and out of church, in the world, mix and match, and combine, all sorts of things, and come up with some of the most comical, nonsensical, and inane conclusions about their own lives and the lives of others, and the world we live in that well… just defy understanding. Not only that, but it’s in the combining, the mixing and matching, of things that don’t go together that have given birth to some of the most perverted ideas and philosophies we see in the world around us.
Some people might roll their eyes, when I say that there’s such a thing as “spiritual blindness,” but I know there is. I know this as well as I know that there is darkness and light, right and wrong, good and bad. I know that some things can’t exist together side by side, and that there are some things you can’t bring together because by their very natures they are in direct opposition to each other. The fact that people can believe that they can involve themselves with the filth of this world, and yet be a part of God’s Kingdom just goes to show that many people are indeed “spiritually blind.”
Hypocrisy is a form of “spiritual blindness” in that it allows people to look at other people through the eyes of condemnation and judgment, often to the point of damnation, with no thought or ability to look at oneself, and is a complete denial of the truth of God’s Word which is the only real truth. The fact is that we must make a choice between living for truth or living for ourselves.
Truth, real truth, destroys hypocrisy….
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Col_3:16
The diligent and prayerful reading of God’s holy word is a great means of increasing and promoting spirituality of mind. This, we fear, is not an element in the Christianity of many. It defines a duty sadly and, to a great extent, totally neglected. The tendency of the age is to substitute the writings of man for the Book of God. Let them come but with the robe of religion gracefully thrown around them, and whether they assume the form of history, or story, or song, they are devoured by the professing multitude, who would deem their true spirituality unquestionable! But the Divine life of the soul is not to be fed and nourished by the profound discoveries of science, or the recondite axioms of philosophy, or the brilliant flowers of genius, or the dreams of a poetical imagination. It ascends to a higher and a diviner source; it aspires towards the nourishments of its native climate. The bread that comes down from heaven, and the water that flows, pure as crystal, from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb, can alone feed, and nourish, and refresh this hidden principle. Jesus is its sustenance; and the gospel, as it unfolds Him in His glory and grace, is the spiritual granary from where its daily food is drawn. To this it repairs, oftentimes pressed with hunger, or panting with thirst, weary and exhausted, drooping and faint, and it finds its doctrines and its precepts, its promises and its admonitions, its exhortations and revelations, a “a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” And thus refreshed and satisfied, the grateful soul adoringly exclaims, “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Truly did Jesus testify, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you;” evidently and solemnly implying, that if there exists no appetite for spiritual food, there is lacking the great evidence of the life of God in the soul. A mere semblance of life, an informed judgment, a “fair show” of religion “in the flesh,” can content itself with anything short of the spiritual aliment contained in God’s word. But the Divine life of a quickened soul, while it disdains no auxiliary to its spiritual advance, can yet feed on nothing but Divine food. The “flesh and the blood of Immanuel can alone meet and satiate its hungering and thirsting. It is from heaven, and its supply must be heavenly; it is from God, and its nourishment must be Divine. Jesus, and Jesus alone, received into the heart, rested in, and lived upon by faith, is the food of a believing man. Nothing but Christ-“Christ all” in Himself, and Christ “in all,” means “in all” ordinances, “in all” channels, “in all” seasons, sustains a soul whose “life is hid with Christ in God.” Dear reader, do you see the importance and feel the solemnity of this truth? Oh, it is a great and solemn one! Except by faith you “eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, you have no life in you!” Nothing short of Christ-Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s atonement, Christ’s flesh and blood, Christ in us, Christ without us, Christ risen, Christ alive at the right hand of God, yes, “Christ all and in all”-can meet the deep, immortal necessities of your soul. You need all that Christ is in the matter of pardon, and justification, and sanctification, and wisdom, and redemption. If anything less than Jesus had sufficed, if an expedient less magnificent, or if an expenditure less costly, had answered for God and man, then less would save you. But since the incarnate God alone is the Savior of a poor, lost sinner, see that you detract not from, or add to, this salvation by any works of human merit.
Be exhorted, then, to an intimate acquaintance with God’s holy word, as supplying a powerful help to the progress of the soul in deep spirituality. And if your time for reading is limited, limit it to one book, and let that one book be-the BIBLE. Let it be the companion of your hours of solitude; the solace in your seasons of sorrow; the store-house in all your necessities; the man of your counsel in all your doubts and perplexities. Then will your blessed experience resemble that of the psalmist: “Your word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You. This is my comfort in my affliction: for Your word has quickened me. Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I rejoice at Your word, as one that finds great spoil.”