Matthew 23:2-3 “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
The world of fantasy allows someone to be someone they’re not. In this fantastical world, someone can feign to have super strength, superior intellect, or have the ability to change appearance.
Yet, for all the play-acting and pretending, there are still who they were born to be.
We think it harmless for children to immerse themselves in this fantasy world. But, when adults begin to embrace fantasy more than real life, we begin to wonder.
In religion, we see the same.
We hear and know what God expects of us. Religion teaches one how to “play the part.” Christianity points to the relationship instead.
Playing the part is to try to be something you are not. It involves a mask to portray to the world what we want to project; holy, righteous, and just like Jesus. Jesus called out the Pharisees for their play-acting and lording it over the Israelite people.
Matthew 23:28 “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
There is a certain amount of vulnerability in being honest.
To allow the world to see the “real” you takes courage. It means we are accepting of who we are. To be vulnerable means pulling back the curtain on our life and letting others see the raw, unfiltered part of us.
Many play the hypocrite’s part because they don’t like who they are or what they’ve become. To change takes courage. To be what God expects us to be can seem a daunting task.
1 Peter 1:15-16“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he detailed his struggle with the desire to do right. He knew what he had to do in his mind, but in his flesh, he fought what was right.
We are no different.
So how does one find success in living the Christian life?
It comes when we allow Christ to live His life through us.
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus did nothing of Himself while here on this earth. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything He said and did.
When we may want fellowship and friendship, God says, “Serve.”
Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
We may want to have the essential needs met: to be loved, accepted, and secure. Seeking for those in anyone else other than God will never satisfy.
Setting aside what we want for the needs of others brings a sense of peace and joy; trying to fulfill our desires will never do.
Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Fantasy gives way to ideological perspectives. Allowing ourselves to be immersed in that world is dangerous. If we are there for any length of time, we can lose sight of what really matters.
Putting on a mask to get others to love us or accept us never works. Even when others love and accept the person we portray, we are unsatisfied, knowing it is not the real ‘you.’
It takes courage to put ourselves ‘out there.’ Knowing we are loved, accepted, and secure in Christ gives the basis for the world’s confidence cannot take away. Transparency and honesty can be freeing. Anything else is hypocrisy.