Athlete, Beware of Hypocrisy

Beware of Hypocrisy

1  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:1 (NASB)

Jesus was warning His small band of followers.

He was not opposed to their faith being lived out in the public arena; He was warning them to not become like the false teachers who displayed their religious actions for show. In their hypocrisy they were more concerned with impressing people than with serving God.

The phrase in today’s verse, “to be noticed,” comes from the same word from which we get the word “theater.” Theater is acting to be seen by others.

A dominant player began attending a weekly training meeting of Christian leaders on our NFL team. We were puzzled that a guy who showed so little spiritual interest would make the sacrifice to join this committed group of men at 6:30 a.m. before practice.

One day he commented to a teammate that he wanted to be viewed as a spiritual leader on the team because he envied the impact they had in the locker room. Unfortunately, he was working on his appearance.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were consumed with keeping every letter of the Law. It elevated them above the typical guy in the synagogue. Jesus exposed them in His response, saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me” (Mark 7:6).

What do you do with Jesus’ warning to His disciples? As a wise teacher (Ron Dunn) once said, “You can’t put more in the showroom than you’ve got in the warehouse.”

Give God the freedom to work in every area of your life — thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, motives. Spiritual growth takes time — ask God to help your walk and talk match.

Many Christ-followers are timid about letting their faith be seen in public. Jesus reminded His disciples that “men do not light a lamp and then cover it up” (Matthew 5:15).

When teammates see Christ-followers whose spiritual lives flow from right hearts, they will be attracted to Him.

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