My Church Facade
Matthew 15:8,9 This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me…
Have you ever, out of obligation, said that you would do something that you had no desire or intention of doing? Lacking the courage to just say, I’m not doing that, have you consented to doing that for which you had no heart?
I must admit, I have felt this way in church worship many times. I love music, but I dislike façade and hypocrisy. Few places have exposed my hypocrisy like standing in church singing about how I follow God above all, when I knew that I did not.
It was church though, so I felt obligated to sing aloud the words I was reading on the screen, even when I knew I was not living them. It was not that I did not believe they were good words. I wanted, in some way, for them to be true. I just knew that they were not. I was not living the words I was singing but out of obligation, I sang.
I think this exactly the kind of thing Jesus found himself frustrated by in this passage. The Pharisees (of whom Jesus was speaking) were notorious for pretending to be obedient to God while following their own path. With their words, they proclaimed God but with their deeds they followed self.
No one wants to be a hypocrite. We do not set out to follow self and then falsely proclaim God on Sunday mornings. We just want two very different things. We want God but we also want to follow our own will.
I want to live my life the way I see fit but I also want to be counted among those who follow God. So, six days a week, I pursue me, but on Sunday morning, for one hour, I sing my little heart out about how much I love and follow Jesus. As miserable as I find my façade, I imagine God is even less impressed.
I often wonder what it would be like if my thoughts and deeds were displayed on a screen above my head on Sunday morning. How horrifying would it be if others could see where my mind has been the last six days? A better question however is, What would it be like if I actually lived out what I was singing? Instead of closing my mouth to avoid hypocrisy, what if I changed my life so that my actions matched the words on my lips?
I do not want to put a façade on Sunday morning. I want my life to be consistent with my words. So, today, I need to start preparing for church next Sunday. Today, I need to follow God instead of me.