For all of us who have labeled ourselves “Christians,” naturally set about fitting ourselves into that role. We default to making an effort to be “good Christians.”
We are concerned about that because of the natural pride in us. Thus we make every effort to prove to others and ourselves that we are preforming the activities of a Christian.
Unfortunately little is discussed from our pulpits about “…unspiritual preoccupation with outward forms and ceremonies, while neglecting utterly the great moral verities of true religion” James Coffman (Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, “Commentary on Luke 11:42”).
As I read the gospels I am stopped by CHRIST’s forcible language that condemn His listeners. Why does He provoke? The answer comes quickly to mind.
We easily slide into our natural mode described above. Therefore, we must hear language that condemns. We must have an accusing finger pointed at us telling us we are not on the Christian path we thought we were on. To move toward Christianity and the peace of knowing we have the assurance from GOD that we are His we must, before anything else, recognize our sin. And that is the sin of being actors—acting like we are Christians but are not.
CHRIST’s convicting words: “…you…outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt 23:28 ESV). “A man may appear clean without, who is unclean within; but outward purity will not avail in the sight of God, where inward holiness is wanting” Adam Clarke (The Adam Clarke Commentary, “Commentary on Matthew 23:25”).
We must check ourselves: do we make the decision of what good works we do—do we decide on them because we believe we have the ability to accomplish them successfully? This is sin; we are operating with our born-with natural abilities.
“…the things done…may be good and godly…but if they are not undertaken in a spirit of complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, then the flesh is the source of all…Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh. Whatever one decides according to his pleasure in lieu of seeking the will of God emanates from the flesh….” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).
If these words convict you, repent and ask GOD to change your heart. Only a renewed heart can override the flesh, for flesh “never has the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).