Today we are reading from 1 Timothy 4: 1-5:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.
In the NSRV this section is entitled “False Asceticism.” That’s a great description of what Paul is talking about. Cool, but what does that mean? It means this. Doing your holy stuff not because it is truly holy or because it makes you holy, but doing it for others’ eyes.
Doing it for others to see.
Living out our “holiness” not for the benefit of our faith or our soul or our walk with God and neighbor. But denying ourselves so that we look good for other people to see. This is not true holiness or fasting or faith.
This is false asceticism or false denial.
This is looking good for others’ eyes. And we see tonight that is not a true faith. It is a false one. It is one to make us look holy.
Not one that truly makes us holy.
So in our lives, why do we do what we do? Do we do it for others’ eyes? Do it for others to see? Or do we do it as a discipline for our faith? Do go? To be more Christ-like.
Let’s make sure that we are living our faith right and not doing it for others’ eyes. Let’s make sure we are doing for God. Let’s live our faith in the proper and right purpose.
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