Hypocrisy, Self-Examination, and Lent
The thing about asking God to search you is that inevitably something will be found.
We spend time in God’s Word, we ask Him to show us our sin, and we repent. We tell God thank You for showing us that nasty stuff and washing us clean. Then we get off our knees and like a dog to its vomit there we are again. Reveling in the stench of our selfishness and hating ourselves for every last bite we swallow. Still we swallow it because we don’t want to admit we did it again or we would prefer to laugh about it rather than spit the nasty out.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15 ESV
Angry words spewed from my mouth just minutes after I said, “Amen.” Standing there I am undone. I don’t want God to search me because I am always found wanting. How I can’t stand among the forgiven when I keep running back to my junk, my sin? How can such a perfect God love someone so utterly flawed like me?
Paul knew this angst too.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:24 ESV
But he also knew that even in our hypocrisy God is faithful, so he continues:
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:25 ESV
While this side of heaven our flesh and God’s Spirit living in us (see how this happens by clicking here) will war against each other. God knows that and He sent Jesus to die even though He knew we would struggle to faithfully serve Him our whole lives. It is God through Jesus who will save us from our “bodies of death.” It is the Holy Spirit who will empower us to live holy lives. And it is the point of the Lent season for us to remember how desperately we need Jesus’ sacrifice.
Hypocrisy does not void our claim to Christ as Savior. In many ways in validates our need for a Savior and it ought to drive us to our knees in wonder, gratitude, and dependence. We cannot walk this Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit living in us and we cannot recognize the Holy Spirit’s prompting without spending time in God’s Word.
Father God I confess I am a hypocrite. I am Your child, but I act like I am free to go my own way. Forgive me for running back to my sin and my junk. Forgive me for ignoring Your Word and not listening to Your Spirit. Holy Spirit help me to live empowered by You so I can live the life God has called me to live. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.