Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
(Psalm 51:6)

IF WE DEAL WITH GOD AT ALL, WE MUST DEAL WITH HIM IN GOOD FAITH. Our approach to Him must be sincere and straightforward. To the best of our ability, we must really and truly want from God what our approach to Him seems to say that we want.

Most people are aware that the strongest language in the Scriptures is directed against hypocrisy. We recall, for example, Jesus’ exposé of the Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27,28). Yet while we wince every time we read these words, we don’t normally see ourselves as being guilty of the sin they condemn. We’re not everything we should be, but we’re not guilty of such blatant deceit, at least not intentionally.

But hypocrisy wears many masks, and it can creep into our character quite subtly. If we say we seek God and we engage in outward actions that appear to be those of a seeker, the implication of all this is that we desire God — for His own sake, as He truly is, and on whatever terms He stipulates. Unfortunately, we often have something less in mind. All we really want from God, much of the time, is just a little help adjusting our outward lives to the prevailing social standards of goodness. What He desires, however, is to adjust our inward lives to His eternal standards of truth, which is a very different thing. If we really have no intention of going where we know God is headed, what does that say about our seeking of Him?

God is not to be mocked. He cannot be manipulated. There is no possibility of deceiving Him about our intentions when we come before Him. As “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16), He requires that our actions truthfully reflect our desire and that our true desire be nothing less than conformity — body, soul, and spirit — to the realities of His truth.

“Sincerity is the prime requisite in every approach to the God who requires ‘truth in the inward parts’ and who hates all hypocrisy, falsehood, and deceit” (Geoffrey B. Wilson).

Gary Henry — +

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