Strong way to start a blog, I know. This is a statement we are all familiar with. We hear it from Christians, non-Christians, family members, friends & sometimes strangers. Most often when I hear this statement it is usually referring to a person living or speaking in such a way that causes others to feel or believe that the individual is religious, legalistic, proud or a hypocrite.
With the whole council of the Word of God in mind there is truth to this common phrase. We see the Pharisees, whom with their long list of rules to follow and their elaborate prayers believed themselves to be holy. Yet Jesus said, “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.”
Paul spoke to the believers in Corinth about the proper way of holy living yet reminding them that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”
John tells us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Clearly we need to be examining ourselves through prayer and confession. That by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit we would not be performers as though God needed us, that we would remain humble and that we have no holiness apart from Christ.
Having said that I must question our motive in using this to communicate. I find that in my own life and those closest to me that we refer to someone as being “holier than thou” when there is conviction from the holy spirit in our lives personally. Usually when I see someone that knows the Word, has more wisdom than me, has a consistent prayer life etc. it rouses up excitement within me to desire more! Not to be more like that person, but to have more of Jesus shining through me as they do!
That probably sounded, “holier than thou.” As Paul said in Phillipians 3:12, I say also, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
This is something I read recently that spoke volumes to me about this subject.
Mastery Over The Believer by Oswald Chambers
John13:13 “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”
Our Lord never insists on having authority; He never says-thou shalt. He leaves us perfectly free—so free that we can spit in his face, as men did; so free that we can put him to death, as men did; and He will never say a word. But when His life has been created in me by His Redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a moral domination—“Thou art worthy…..” It is only the unworthy in me that refuses to bow down to the worthy. If when I meet a man who is more holy than myself, I do not recognize his worthiness and obey what comes through him, it is a revelation of the unworthy in me. God educates us by means of a people who are a little better than we are, not intellectually but ”holily,” until we get under domination of the Lord Himself, and then the whole attitude of the life is one of obedience to Him.
He never insists on obedience, but when we do see Him we obey Him instantly, He is easily Lord, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The revelation of my growth in grace is in the way in which I look on obedience. We have to rescue the word “obedience” from the mire. Obedience is only possible between equals; it is relationship between father and son, ”I and my Father are One.” “Though He were a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” The Son’s obedience was as Redeemer, because He was Son, not in order to be Son.
We want to live a holy life because we are His children, not to become His children. God help me, help us in our desire to be obedient & holy, but above all, to put on love for it is by this that others will know that we are your disciples. Not by our holiness.