If you ever find yourself at the point of false piety you need stop immediately and repent of the sin of self-righteousness. In my case my false piety was wrapped up in political pragmatism, believing that somehow God would bless my incremental holiness, because America was not yet ready for revival.
My political pragmatism caused me to think that we had to have the right man in the White House, that we have to regain control Congress, get the right mixture on the Supreme Court and then all our troubles would be swept away. The problem is we had all that and things just got worse. The American Church sadly for decades has looked to Washington for a savior instead of Calvary.
Unfortunately this is par for the course with fallen man. We believe we are doing things for the good of the cause, but most times we cannot even coherently explain that cause. It withers under the Light of the Gospel.
The Prophet Jeremiah is called the Weeping Prophet but the more I read of him the more I see him as Godâ€™s prosecutor. In chapter 2 we see God using Jeremiah to bring His case against Israel and the chapter ends with, for the hearers, what must have been stunning and stinging words:
â€œâ€˜Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,â€™ says the LORD. â€˜In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion. O generation, see the word of the LORD! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of darkness? Why do My people say, â€œWe are lords; we will come no more to Youâ€? Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. Why do you beautify your way to seek love? Therefore you have also taught the wicked women your ways. Also on your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, but plainly on all these things. Yet you say, â€œBecause I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.â€ Behold, I will plead My case against you, because you say, â€œI have not sinned.â€ Why do you gad about so much to change your way? Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria. Indeed you will go forth from him with your hands on your head; for the LORD has rejected your trusted allies, and you will not prosper by them.â€™â€ (Jeremiah 2:29-37)
Instead of trusting in God for protection Israel trusted in her alliances, first with Assyria and then with Egypt. These were wicked pagan nations that Israel looked at their economic and military might and decided their strength was greater than the Most High God. We often quote Jeremiah 17:9 because it talks about our wicked hearts, but look at that verse in context and see why God had Jeremiah write these words:
â€œThus says the LORD: â€˜Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.â€™â€ (Jeremiah 17:5-10)
That was bad news for Judah and that is bad news for the majority of Christians in America today. That is bad news for the majority of preachers in America today who preach the feelgood gospel from the NTFV (New Touchy Feely Version) Bible and are afraid to call sin, sin and reject the politically correct humanism that has spread throughout the church like a cup of yeast in a bowl of dough.
Stop and think about that beloved!
God is going to test each of our minds individually and give to us according to each of our ways, according to the fruit we bear. What kind of fruit are you bearing?! What kind of tree are you?!
â€œYou will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.â€ (Matthew 7:16-18)
Beloved I am not shouting at you I am pleading with you. Please search your heart and ask what it is you are trusting. It is painful no doubt and will bring at first shame to your heart, but then it brings sweet liberty to confess your sin of false piety and realize that I can trust in a God who loves me enough to chasten me when I need it.
For decades we have tried trusting in Washington and it has brought ruin to our great nation. We have tried trusting in the conservative pundits and parachurch organizations to bring about a revival that can only happen in the heart of individual man. Revival comes to those who were once alive, and we too often trust in pagans instead of trusting in a Holy God who if His people will call out to Him, then God would move the hearts of pagan leaders and allow restoration to come. Just look at the Old Testament; it is filled with examples of such times.
No matter how much we try to bring a false piety, a sanctimony driven by self-righteousness, we will fail. We need to use the Bible as our holiness meter and stop comparing ourselves to others:
â€œFor we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.â€ (2 Corinthians 10:12)
Jesus warned us about false shows of piety and I am reminded of the sad spectacle that the Family Research Council put on over the internet recently when it held a prayer vigil trying to defeat the health care bill. Read Jesus words:
â€œTake heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.â€ (Matthew 6:1-8)
Perhaps if we stopped putting on shows over the internet and got on our faces individually and cried out to God for forgiveness and mercy, then corporately we would see revival come, and then we would see God act in this land, even with a pagan leader.
Beloved, the Bible is clear. We can do things Godâ€™s way or we can do them our way.
If we do them our way, then we will not prosper by them.
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Copyright Â© 2010 David Jeffers