Have you ever met a hypocritical Christian? I have. Truth be known, I am one.
Let’s admit it. Us Christians are a community of hypocrites. We aren’t perfect. Far from it. We have an lofty standard God wants us to meet—holiness. That’s a really high bar. We sincerely want to meet that standard, but we fall short like a pole-vaulter trying to jump over Golden Gate Bridge. We sometimes act like we can make it on our own, but we often mask the truth that we struggle to be holy from our fellow Christians.
Why do we hide when we all struggle? Wouldn’t it be better if we admitted our mutual struggle and banded together to grow together? Of course! And Peter agrees too. He calls us to brotherly love from a pure heart and in the processes your display the good news to others around you (1:22-23).
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” – 1 Peter 1:22-23, ESV
The way we fight hypocrisy is through abiding in the Word of God. The Word of God is our mighty weapon against slaying hypocrisy.
The Word of God is powerful because it is the Word is Truth.
Hypocrisy is the opposite of truth. Hypocrisy lives a lie and masks the truth. When we read the Word it reads us. We see who we really are and what we need to become. While not easy to swallow it is the truth.
Jesus was the Word in the flesh—the living Truth—to set us free from sin and hypocrisy. If you look at the first Jesus followers they were a mess. Peter was the biggest mess of them all, yet Jesus loves to redeem messes. A hypocrite must first admit, “I am a mess. I am not what I am, but I want to be as He is. Help me to love truth. I love You and I want to love others too.”
The Word is living and enduring.
There is no other book like the Bible on earth. It is the very words of God. It’s alive. The Spirit of God still gives life through it. While man and generation come and go (1:24-25; cf. Isaiah 40:6-8), the Word of God stands the test of time impacting generation after generation. If the Word has the power to change so many lives he has power to change my life too, even hypocrisy.
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” – 1 Peter 1:24-25
The Word is good and our source of growth.
The Word of God is like milk to a baby (2:2-3). A new Christian craves the Word. He can’t get enough. It is life-giving. No Christian is too old or mature to feast on the Word or drink its spiritual milk. It is the Word that gives him motivation and power to fight the hypocrisy he struggles to overcome (2:1). Remind one another of the tasty goodness therein and obey it.
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:1-3
Christianity isn’t a solo or personal walk. It is a arduous journey we take together with other Christians. There are many personal aspects to the journey like our salvation and daily choices, but it’s in those parts that walk with one another our faith is accentuated and amplified. We grow as Christians by growing together. We fight hypocrisy by walking in Truth together.
Questions for Reflection:
- What is hypocrisy? How is hypocrisy a temptation? What are some ways that Christians struggle with hypocrisy?
- What are the implications of a life filled with 1 Peter 2:1?
- How does a vulnerable and open faith within the church help us overcome hypocrisy?
- What issues of hypocrisy do we need to deal with as a community?
- How are you banding together with your brothers and sisters as you fight hypocrisy in your own life?
- What is the purpose of loving one another? (see John 17) Why is love so important to Christianity? Where does true love come from? (1 John 4:8)
- How does abiding in the Word of God help us to love one another? (see Psalm 34)
- How can we encourage one another to renew a longing for “spiritual milk”?
- How does Isaiah 40:6-8 speak to the issue of our brevity and the Words eternality? Why is this an important truth to dwell on as we encourage one another?
- How does the way we treat other Christians (or non-Christians) reflect on our faith in Christ? How is the gospel preached in relationships?
- How has your faith in Jesus changed the way you relate to people? Are there any attitudes you need to repent of?
- What opportunities do you have to love one another in your community?
- What does it mean that God is good? What ways in the Bible do you see that God is good? What are some ways God has been good to you or your family?