September 20 I Sunday
2 Corinthians 12
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” —Philippians 1:27
To be pure in heart is to be completely devoted. What we see is what we get. Whether people meet us Sunday at church, Monday at work, Tuesday at the grocery store, Wednesday at the gas station, Thursday at the gym, Friday at a lounge, or Saturday on the golf course, we are still the same person.
Jesus warns, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). The problem with false prophets is their outwards and their inwards are different. Although Jesus was talking about false prophets, some of us may relate to being like a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing as we put up an image that we would like others to view us. We want others to think of us as successful, having everything together and enjoying life to the fullest.
Our problem becomes putting up a false external image that we want to portray to other people around us. If we do it long enough, we will even begin to convince ourselves of our own pretend image. Then the trouble is that we no longer know who we are anymore when the inside and the outside become inconsistent and in conflict. This, however, is not to say that we need to let everything about ourselves hang loose. The truth is, we do not like people who let everything loose, so we have to show a bit of discipline. The real issue, rather, is about pretence in trying to create a reputation for ourselves.
Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation…” (NKJV). This passage tells us that Jesus could care less about what people thought about Him. Why? Because everything He did was about pleasing the Father and not man. Jesus got into all kinds of trouble with people who thought badly of Him for all kinds of reasons, but He never defended and tried to explain Himself.
When we examine Jesus’s teachings in the Beatitudes, we find we can stop obsessing about the outside. If we meekly submit to Christ as our Lord, we are actually liberated from the need to pretend or prove anything. The Holy Spirit is there to replace all that we are in our weakness with what He is in His strength. Like Jesus, are we willing to accept no reputation of ourselves and submit wholly unto Him?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for the example of what it means to please God and not man. Whatever reputation I have gained, I surrender it to You and take on no reputation for myself. Amen!