You hypocrite! Who me?
“The church must be a bastion of patience. As the rest of the world chases the next new thing every eight seconds or less, we must be those who turn our eyes toward the long view. We must be known for our staying power when loving our neighbors takes longer than we expected and is harder than we thought. It takes patience to run with endurance, but that is the race the world needs to see us run. It may just be what catches and holds their attention in a goldfish world. Let patience be found among the people of God. He is not finished with us yet.” Jen Wilkin (In His Image)
Last Saturday I was doing chores while watching some of the Passion Conference 2019 sessions. There I was cleaning my kitchen counters when Matt Chandler started talking about Christians being hypocrites. Then, he went on to say it’s true, we are hypocrites!
Because I often “feel like” a hypocrite, I took a seat so I could hone in on what he was saying. I was encouraged and maybe you will be too so here’s my summary (not his words). People hear us talking and acting all ugly as we judge those around us. They think because of our faith and beliefs we should be more kind, gracious, loving and oh yeah...forgiving! And we should but here's the reality of following Christ and being Christlike in our behavior. It's a process.
Becoming more like Christ in my behavior is a result of a deepening and growing relationship with Christ. The more time I spend in His Word, the more His Spirit can teach me and change the way I think the better and more Christ-like I can behave. Look, this process takes endurance and patience. Why? Life is a wild ride with emotional ups and downs because life is filled with disappointments, tragedies, pain and sometimes suffering. These things test our faith and sometimes these tests grow our faith and strengthen us and sometimes we just flat out fail the tests. Worse is people see us fall flat on our faces coming up short on who we profess to be and want to be.
But, with endurance, we get back up and keep running the race of faith. We keep trying. In other words, our lives are not a sprint but rather a marathon and each day, each experience trains us in what it means to be more like Christ. Some days are better than others.
So, the next time someone says you are a hypocrite or like me you feel like one, own it. Let’s apologize, confess, and ask Jesus to make us more like Him. Remember, we haven’t finished our race yet (Hebrews 12:1) and He isn’t finished with us yet either (Philippians 1:6). Be encouraged and let’s be patient with ourselves and others. Hypocrites? Yes, but I pray others will also take note of our staying power as we keep chasing Jesus!
Please forgive me. My race…our race…may not be pretty. It looks like I am going to cross that finish line of my faith all banged up from the falls and fails, but I fix my eyes on Jesus and I run like the wind toward my eternal destiny with Him. Be patient with me and I'll be patient with you too!
Have a great Tuesday!