One of the greatest obstacles to hope is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the absence of biblical conviction, and this steals our joy, our faith, and our hope in God!
Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth,
That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?
Job 20:5 (NKJV)
A sure sign of hypocrisy in our lives – whether it be in our marriages, families, relationships, or in our relationship with God is the absence of Joy. Throughout the gospels we find that those who made an attachment or connection with Jesus experienced great joy (Luke 10:17, 19:37, John 17:13), whereas those who chose to stay distant or disobedient remained joyless (Mark12:22) . This was the case of the Pharisees (Luke 15:2). Regardless of how well they claimed to know the Word of God, they never appear to have a joy that characterizes those in whom the Word of God remained and thrived. (John 15:9-11)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
Joy is more than a feeling – it’s a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:21),sustained by a faith and hope rooted in the Word of God, regardless of our surrounding circumstances.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Psalm 19:8 (NLT)
I remember traveling to Hong Kong, considered one of the shopping “meccas” in the world, and some locals led me to a store with name-brand suits, custom tailored, sold at remarkably low prices. Needless to say, I was intrigued and jumped at the opportunity to buy a couple of suits which cost the equivalent of one lower-end suit in the US. While excited about the deal I got, and “joyfully” sporting my new suit on a Sunday morning at church back in San Francisco, half-way through church service I found my suit beginning to come apart at the seams! My “joy” suddenly became a nightmare, because what I had hoped was genuine turned out to be fake. It’s no wonder why Armani isn’t made in Hong Kong, and why hypocrisy is the enemy of hope.
The joy that stems from being in close relationship with God, is what makes God attractive to others. This is why Joy matters!
To build hope and root out hypocrisy from your life, examine the following choices & questions to begin restoring your Joy:
1. Choose God over the World: -Romans 15:13, 1 Peter 1:6-9
- Where do I turn to in pursuit of peace and joy?
2. Choose Obedience over Emotion: -Psalm 119:111
- Do I find joy in obeying the Bible?
3. Choose Transparency over Hiddeness: -Matthew 13:19-21, Psalm 32
- What hypocritical ways or hidden sins are stifling my joy and keeping the Word of God from taking root in my life?