Some random thoughts in the A.M. 'bout joy and bein' real..that I woke up with (..before coffee and B4 my son will drop by for a haircut. Yup, he actually asked so we'll see what happens with that lol)..
Q. Where can you find that positive quality of joy outside of Christianity?
I've got it now ..so amazing.. but couldn't find joy for several years and I was raised in a so called "church" where it was supposed to be. Perhaps in the world you can find a look-a-like-version of joy. We've all seen different versions.
A. Listen, real joy only comes from a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Now you know that the top reason for unbelievers becoming born again Christians in any era ..is this: They met a joyful Christian. The top reason for unbelievers not becoming a Christian is this: They met a so called Christian.
Q. Can you avoid becoming a hypocrite while attending church? A. Sure, the ultimate non-hypocrite, Jesus, can help you do this daily.
Yes, the best argument for Christians is spiritual Christians who are free: their full exuberant joy, their inner certainty, their holy anointed lifestyle, their gentle friendliness, their completeness and sincere gratitude. But the strongest argument against Christians and Christianity is also Christians—those who are nominal, sullen, joyless, apathetic, grippy, complacent, smug, legalistic, non-real in their behavior, mean-spirited, uber-somber, self-righteous, inverted, selfish and lukewarm.
1. Hypocrisy hates the truth and Jesus hates hypocrisy. We should too. Get this.. because the poser's self-worth is based on maintaining an illusion of righteousness and godliness to the world, they must continually deceive themselves and others. Beyond lame!
2. Hypocrisy turns peeps against unchanging truth. A person who is outright and obviously evil is for sure ..dangerous, but guess who is even more dangerous. It's someone who purposely comes off as good and righteous when they ain't (See Matt. 7:15; 2 Cor. 11:13-15). It's so sad that many innocent people get misled by posers (See Isa. 32:6; Matt. 23:1-13).
3. Hypocrisy excludes real relationships. Once a person's self-worth get's based on outward appearances of role-playing rather than on genuinely held inner values, that person only associates with people who will confirm their carefully-guarded illusions of self-righteousness and feelings of superiority. It's a pride thang! They shun genuine relationships where they might be confronted. They really avoid a relationship with God knowing that He is best at this confrontation stuff.
4. Hypocrisy makes accurate self-knowledge impossible. True. They opt for a very lonely existence.
It's WAY serious for anyone to reject the truth. But get this as well..it is much more serious Mr or Mrs Poser to stumble others causing them to reject truth by misusing it for your own evil and hypocritical purposes! Stop that.
That word hypocrite in the Bible originated when a Hebrew word with a general meaning of "godless" and a root meaning of "corrupt" or "defiled" was translated into the Greek with a term having the meaning "to play a part." Yeah, and what happens too often.. religious hypocrites corrupt themselves by concealing their true nature beneath an outward show of uprightness. Avoid that at all costs!
Try to avoid an appearance of evil Christian (1 Thess. 5:22), but never be interested in appearing good spiritually to other people like the posers of Jesus' day did! Why get rebuked by Him when you can live right?
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." ~ Paul, (Rom. 12:9)
"The best mirror is an old Friend." ~ George Herbert
"Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." ~ Jesus to religious posers (Matt. 23:28)
"And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy." ~ Paul, (Gal. 2:13)
Of course you and I are not called to preach any Christian minister or Christian. We love to preach Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead.. in a non-preachy or sanctimonious or pushy way! You and I are not here to justify or defend the wrong deeds, words, and attitudes of sideways believers or of religious folk. We are here to walk closely with our wonderful Savior minus all hypocrisy and spiritual compromise.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." ~ James 3:17
"But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." ~ Jesus (Matt. 23:5-12)
"Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.." ~ 1 Peter 2:1
All posers welcome - come to Jesus to be changed by Him. Don't stay that way another day! Reject loneliness by getting real with God and real believers.. regularly. Let go of sin and take hold of Jesus by faith. Come clean and He'll make you truly clean.
Sure we are called to always be real.. to love the truth and all people every day 'til we see Christ's lovely face. Do you love people no matter their color or background? He does.
Yup, we're called to non-hypocritical on-fire living in Him 24/7/365. Are you fully committed or stuck with a divided heart?
We're called to joyously exalt our perfect Christ among imperfect saints and sinners, to disciple real believers with His Word, and to accurately proclaim His flawless Gospel to the ends of the earth! Please don't wait for a plane ticket to arrive in the mail to get started. And remember that many believers don't have to cross a border or even a city street to begin.