2 Timothy 2:19 “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.’ “
Being a Christian places a requirement upon you. Being a Christian means that you have to live according to His standards. Being saved is great, living it out is a struggle. Jesus said that our life must line up with our confession; “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21)
What is wickedness? Wikipedia defines the term as; “Wickedness, is generally considered a synonym for evil or sinfulness. Among philosophers, it has the more specific meaning of evil committed consciously and of free will.” The Bible gives a ‘good’ list of wicked behaviour; “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
As a confessed Christian I don’t engage in sexual immorality, debauchery, witchcraft, drunkenness, fits of rage and orgies! But there is more stuff on that list; impurity, idolatry, hatred, discord, jealousy, dissensions, factions and envy. This subset of less obvious wickedness is harder to deal with and just as damning. I’ve been jealous recently. I’ve had impure motives lately. Haven’t you ever been envious of others to the point that you are resentful?
If you’re honest, dealing with wickedness in your life is a daily battle. Yet, if you’re like me you try real hard to look good on the outside and hide the dirt below the skin. You can’t hide from Jesus; “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27,28)
How do you deal with the ingrown grime and grit of life that we are born into? How do you deal with inclinations that seem to merge right into your being so that all you can do is despair when you think about it? How do you deal with doing the same thing over and over again right up to and including the vow – I’ll never do that again?
The Gospel truth is – you can’t! Jesus said; “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) If you think you can give up hypocrisy on you’re own – you’re better than I am! You’re better than Paul was who struggled with a thorn in his side;” . . ., in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” (2 Cor 12:7-8)
How can we deal with our wickedness if we can’t overcome on our own? What did Paul say his answer from Jesus was; “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9) Honesty is the best antidote to hypocrisy. If Paul could boast on his weakness – shouldn’t we at least acknowledge ours. And in so doing appreciate our complete need for His righteousness in our lives.
Honesty and the humility it brings opens up our hearts for Christ’s power to flow through us.
Praise the Lord!