Matthew 6:1

One of my all time favorite movies is the 1939 classic, “The Wizard of Oz.”  For decades, children of all ages have been mesmerized by the story of Dorothy Gale who gets whisked away in a Kansas tornado to a fairy tale land called Oz.  Accompanied by her friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and her little dog Toto, she is off to see the Wizard who can help her get back home. After defeating the wicked witch, Dorothy and her friends stand before what they think is the great and powerful Oz.  Toto subtly goes to a curtain and begins to pull it back, and it becomes obvious to everyone that Oz is nothing more than an old man pushing a bunch of buttons and speaking into a microphone.  When he discovers that he has been caught, Oz simply says, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”  But the gig was up.  He was not who he led others to believe he was.

There are many expressions of imitation Christianity that people often try to pass off as the real thing. Don’t make the mistake of accepting a cheap imitation of the real thing.  Do you want to know what authentic Christianity looks like? Simply put, it looks like Jesus. Genuine faith as opposed to cheap imitation faith is largely the theme of Matthew 6-7.  More than once, Jesus warns us against the subtle dangers of a thing called hypocrisy. The word translated as ‘hypocrite’ in the New Testament comes from the world of Greek drama.  The hypocrite was a person on stage who was playing a part or wearing a mask.  The hypocrite gave others the impression that he was something that he was not.

Don’t think that you can hide behind a religious curtain. Jesus exposes the dangers of practicing our righteousness for the sake of appearances.  He always looks at the hidden motive of the heart. No matter how outwardly pious or religious a person may appear to be, outward actions without the proper attitude and motive behind them do not please God.  Integrity means that one’s motives are right as well as one’s actions.

For more, read Matthew 6:1-18