Does everyone ALWAYS practice what they preach? Do we always hold true to our standards, values, morals, disciplines…all the time? Do we all sometimes have lapses in our character?
The apostle Peter was with Jesus from the beginning of His earthly ministry. He was there when Jesus performed miracles. He was an intimate part of Jesus’ inner circle. We all know that he betrayed the Lord, but Jesus warned him beforehand and restored him afterward.
Luke 22:31-34 (NKJV)
31 And the Lord said,[a] “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
John 21:17 (NKJV)
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Peter went on to be used by God to help birth the church, spread the Gospel, perform miracles himself and co-author the New Testament. To say he was anointed and used by God would be an understatement, but he was also far from perfect…just like us.
In fact, Paul (as Saul), who didn’t walk with Jesus. Who wasn’t there for the miracles. Who may have even consented to His death at the cross was also eventually anointed and used mightily by God. Notice what happened when Peter would associate and eat with Gentile believers unless Jews were around…then he would separate himself from them fearing what they would say and how they would react.
Galatians 2:11-16 (NKJV)
11 Now when Peter[a] had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you[b] compel Gentiles to live as Jews?[c]
Peter was being a hypocrite. Paul withstood Peter to his face, called him out and corrected him…publicly.
I know you are saved and sanctified. I know that you love God. I know that you are devoted to God, but are you a hypocrite sometimes too?
When have you found yourself acting outside of your integrity?
Sometimes no one knows about it but you and God…but you do know. Don’t you? You notice it. You think about it. You may even pray about it and ask forgiveness, or you may be comfortable as long as no one else knows.
I’m not going to go through a list of the possible areas in life that we are sometimes hypocrites, but it could be as simple as…you portray yourself or even brag about being a law abiding citizen, but you sometimes drive above the speed limit.
That’s why God’s grace and mercy should never be taken for granted, because it is impossible for us to totally avoid sin, and hypocrisy is a subtle manipulation from the enemy which we ALL fall for sometimes.
The truth is that even when someone you love or someone you know has a hypocritical moment, you still know their true character…
So, let’s make sure that any lapse in our character is just that…a lapse. Because enough lapses in your character becomes your character.
Let’s hold one another accountable in love.