What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Sunday Christian”? Perhaps it is hypocrite or pretense. If you were to describe that person you might say, “someone who puts on the appearance of being virtuous, spiritual and devoted to the principles of real faith, but does not demonstrate it through their actions on the other days of the week”. When people get one impression of a person’s sincerity and piety or even holiness and then subsequently find out about habitual lying, cheating, immorality or other vices, it is very difficult to put the two kinds of behavior together and to feel that the person is trustworthy. While we can fool other people at times, God is never confused about the integrity of our heart and the motives behind our actions.
Apparently, this is not a new problem. Isaiah warned the Israelites about the results of these very same issues. He made it very clear in his message that the kind of fasting and life style which they practiced would not bring about their desired results. He carefully and explicitly explained to them that if their behavior was consistent with their “Sabbath practices”, they would find that God would guide them and strength them in ways that they had not been experiencing. In The Message paraphrase of Isaiah 58, Isaiah is very specific when he says, “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness and I will always show you where to go.” Do you think he could have spoken any more clearly?
Jesus spoke about many of these same issues when he was walking this earth and yet the Pharisees couldn’t seem to really hear his concerns. Perhaps all of us would do well to periodically ask ourselves some serious questions. Are there some things that I am doing to impress others or even to catch the attention of God on Sunday that are not reflected in my actions every day of the week? Where am I missing out on God’s blessing because I am unwilling to admit my own inconsistencies?