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POSTED: December 31, 2012 3:00 p.m.

Whether we realize it or not, if we claim to follow Christ and claim to be living a changed life, then there are others watching us to see if we are genuine or just a fake.

When we are professing to be one thing, but we live another way, then what we become are hypocrites. If we preach to others that something is wrong or not the best way to live, and then we go ahead and do that same thing ourselves, then we become hypocrites. The Apostle Paul refers to this in Romans 2 when he says, “You then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?”

On Christmas Eve, as I was purchasing some last-minute items and in a hurry, I grabbed what has become a tradition: a bottle of Welch’s sparkling grape juice. My wife had gone into the store earlier, and I was trying to find her when I ran into a church member. Since the bottle of grape juice looked a lot like the real wine, I caught myself telling him what I had in my hand was only sparkling juice. I didn’t want to appear to him as a hypocrite, since I have always taught that total abstinence is the best policy to live by. It’s not that drinking moderately will send a person to hell, but that because of so many negative effects, it’s the best policy never to get started drinking alcoholic beverages at all.

The bad thing is that when I finally found my wife and put the bottle of what I thought was sparkling grape juice in her buggy, she said, “Steve, have you changed your habits?” 

You see, when I picked up the bottle, I inadvertently grabbed a bottle of cheap wine that happened to be right next to what I intended to pick up. I immediately went and traded the bottle for the right one.

You may say, “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that we need to be careful of the witness we show others. If we are perceived as hypocrites, then we will have little chance of influencing others to start following Christ.

If you are a believer, in this new year, make a special effort not appear to be a hypocrite by always putting the interests of others above yourself.

If you are not a believer, follow the example of one who was perfect and left a perfect example: Jesus Christ.

 

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