I love cheesecake! Years ago, I found an excellent recipe which has never failed me. I can whip up a delicious, baked-from-scratch, picture-perfect cheesecake–for anyone, at anytime–it truly is an award-winning dessert!(This is not meant to sound boastful; I am just delighted to find a truly reliable recipe!)
Yet, there was the one time when I mistakenly used a wrong ingredient. Instead of adding a can of sweetened, condensed milk, I grabbed evaporated milk from the pantry (the cans are identical in size). The cake’s appearance still looked yummy, but– wow!–was the flavor of my cheesecake drastically different! I had to dump the entire thing in the garbage!
Aren’t insincerity and hypocrisy a lot like this edible illustration? Both character flaws leave such a bad taste in the mouth—much like my cooking error! Just like it was nearly impossible to tell from the cake’s appearance that the recipe contents had been tampered with, it’s impossible for any of us to know the intentions of the inner heart. We can fool others, but not God.
Sincerity is demonstrated in our behavior, actions and conversations. As you reflect upon the following questions, be honest with yourself and make sure that your testimony for Christ is one which “walks the walk and talks the talk”!
1. Do you love God sincerely?
Ephesians 6:24 “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”
This verse is a win-win situation. Grace is God’s unmerited favor to us, meaning we have done nothing to earn it! But, grace is also an attribute which signifies acceptance and forgiveness. When we love God –really love Him–grace abounds. Others sense it and are naturally drawn to us.
2. Are you loving others sincerely?
1 Peter 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”
1John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Admit it; not everyone is lovable! Life would be very boring if we all came from the same mold! We will sometimes encounter individuals who irritate or upset us. Loving others with a pure heart is probably one of the most difficult challenges we face; however, when we look at the bigger picture and see God as the ultimate giver of love, we can–and should–follow His example.
3. Are you serving with sincerity?
Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.”
There’s a simple equation associated with serving: Serving = choice + commitment. Serving with sincerity requires full surrender, with no expectation of a return on what you’ve invested. In this verse, the Israelites were encouraged to not look back on the previous mistakes of their ancestors (choosing to serve false gods), but to make a firm commitment to serve the One True God. One of the benefits to serving the Lord with sincerity is its eternal consequences. Heaven will be all the more glorious because of the time well-invested while here on earth. What is holding you back from serving the Lord? Choose today who you will serve and go ahead—exceed the expectations!
4. Is sincerity seen in your actions?
Philippians 1:10 “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
The apostle Paul’s desire and prayer for the saints (fellow believers) at the Philippi church was that their good deeds (fruits of righteousness) would glorify God. Simple actions, like holding a door open for someone or paying a complement to a stranger, can show others that the Holy Spirit resides inside of you and is at work in your life. Sure, it can be said that you are a “good” person, but allow the opportunity to be one which points others to Jesus Christ. Most importantly, be consistent and kind when others aren’t looking.
Imagine how exasperated God must be with us, when He knows our true potential and sees our wavering convictions and lack of commitment! Don’t settle for a sub-standard version or a foul-tasting substitute of the real deal. Living a life of sincerity is a life with no regrets; it possesses the true ingredients that matter!