The Five Ways To Live Sincerely (Part 1)
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
By bro Lee Tian Seng
Some Christians work hard at giving an appearance of faithfulness and goodness but are not so inwardly. God does not want us to live this way. Who we are on the outside should reflect who we are on the inside.
Our Lord Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy because they focused on maintaining an appearance of righteousness and piety but were spiritually rotten inside.
Matthew 23:25-26 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
What a powerful illustration of one who is a hypocrite. He/she is like a vessel that is cleaned on the outside but filled with dirt on the inside. What needs to be done, as our Lord teaches, is to start with cleaning the inside and then the outside will take care of itself.
So, it is important that Christians seek to be sincere in their religion.
What are the ways to live sincerely?
1. Sincere Faith
We need to have a sincere faith towards God. The expression of our religion is not external but from our hearts. The purpose of God’s commandments and our religious practices is not for the sake of impressing others and earning their praises. True religion is seen in Christians having purity of love, clarity of conscience and sincerity in faith, nothing less.
1 Timothy 1:5 - Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.
An example of someone who had sincere faith was Timothy. The apostle Paul commended Timothy for possessing a genuine or unhypocritical faith, which first resided in Timothy’s grandmother and mother. The implication is that they had nurtured that sincere faith in him and were great examples to him.
2 Timothy 1:5 - When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
God looks into the hearts of Christians and will not be deceived by their acting. Jesus said that when you fast, do not behave like the hypocrites. They will make effort to be noticed by men. On the contrary, our Lord wants us to conceal the appearance or look of one who is fasting. The emphasis is to practise our religion in a quiet manner, not by clamouring for the attention of men but by seeking to appear before God with a pure heart.
Matthew 6:16-18 – 16 Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
2. Sincere Works
We also need to be sincere in our service to God and in our good works. People can be tempted to serve God with impure motives. Some are covetous and use religion to make money. Others struggle with putting their whole hearts into serving God instead of idols of this world. No one can serve two masters and that is the truth. Yet, some Christians attempt to be servants of both. God desires our complete devotion and commitment in service. This is not a new problem. Years ago, Joshua spoke about this and exhorted his brethren to serve God in sincerity and in truth.
Joshua 24:14 - Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!
Not only are we to be sincere in our service, we are also taught to be sincere in our good works. The devil will tempt us to seek the praise of men when we do good works. Who does not like to hear good words spoken about them? If that is our motive in doing good works then God said we have received our rewards. Thus, we cannot expect any more reward from God our Father. Jesus’ encouragement is to do good works sincerely, to glorify God and not for self-glory.
Matthew 6:1-4 - Take 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.