Well, that's what we say. The fact in many cases is this...we despise dishonesty in other people. Most of us don't take the time to examine ourselves or have a trusted friend help us with that. Our first lie is that we don't need it. We love to sniff out other people's lies, but somehow our own escape detection. The fact is that I am incredibly dishonest with myself. I tell myself that my devotional/prayer time is sufficient, that seeing this or saying that won't affect me, that the thing I hear in church is a good idea but not a pressing concern, and a host of other lies anytime I am made to be uncomfortable.
The end result is that this affects what I believe. Do I really believe the things that I say I do? There's only one way to tell. If I don't do it, then I don't believe it. I can't count the number of times I've witnessed this truth in my students. It's much easier to count the number of times I've admitted it in my own life. Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees didn't hinge on their results. They would appear to us today to be model Christians. He didn't criticize the appearance of their faith. He told them that their heart on the inside didn't match their actions and words on the outside. He called into question their motivation. He was just as concerned, if not more concerned, about why they were praying, fasting and tithing as he was that these thing were actually happening. Too often we use this as a "get out of jail free" card. Since I will be judged on the motivation behind my actions, I can tell myself and anyone who challenges me that my motives are pure and God-centered. That's the trump card. You can't beat that. Nobody can accurately judge my motives. God alone is capable of that and He will do that. If I really believe He'll judge my motives, I need to be honest with myself about what those motives are.
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