What does a hypocrite look like?

We probably should just admit it. 

Most of us are pretty good at being fake.

We have been working at it a long time.  We learn fake before age two.  

I will always remember taking my daughter up for discipline with her hugging me and saying in between her tears, “I happy Dad.  I happy now.” 

Even as believers we struggle with falling into a pattern of hypocrisy. That’s why Peter says in 1 Peter 2, we have to put it off if we are going to want the Word and he’s talking to believers.  

It’s actually pretty fake to act like you never struggle with being fake and so you know from time to time we need to look in our heart and see if there are any remaining hypocrisies we need to repent of.

Which is why I thought we might work through several characteristics Jonathan Edwards gives of the hypocrite, not to just weigh us down but to help us search out our own hearts for any remaining hypocrisies that might be in there, so we can repent, move on and honor Christ.  

The first mark:

Only being willing to do what God commands you to do when you like what He is commanding you to do.

We are talking about not being willing to obey God across the board.  When God’s word goes against your desires, following your desires instead of God’s Word.

This is the person who seems so religious and so serious but if you really looked carefully at their life you would see they only are willing to say no to sinful desires that they don’t desire.

They feel good about themselves spiritually because they are constantly saying no to things they don’t want, while never saying no to things they actually do. Look at me, I am not an alcoholic when they never even struggled with that before they were saved.  But gossip?

They are great at coming up with excuses when the sinful desire actually matches their desires; or maybe to say it another way, they have a lot of outs when it comes to obeying God.  

I’ll obey if my circumstances are easy.  I’ll obey if people won’t get upset with me for obeying.

They will talk about the importance of obedience, they are all for it, just with exceptions.  

As Edwards puts it, “They pretend that they are willing to do as God prescribes, but only they would prescribe to God first and tell him how they would have him prescribe to them.”  

They don’t really want to obey God’s law because they want to honor God, they want to obey God’s law so they can get something out of it – the respect of other people, not being shamed by their friends, you name it.  Oh they won’t say that, they won’t say, “I will only obey God when I want to obey God”  but that is what they say with their actions.

When obedience becomes a heavy load, they drop it.

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