“that ye may be sincere…” (Php 1:10)
When the apostle Paul writes to the Philippian church he offers up a prayer. Along with praying that their love abounds more and more and that they live without offence, he also prays that they will be sincere. I believe that God has given us women a unique ability to be able to discern when people are being sincere. No one likes to be around an insincere, patronizing person. But, show me a person who is truly sincere, a person who is heartfelt, and a person who is genuine and I’ll show you a person who people naturally congregate towards. While it’s easy to spot a sincere person, it can be difficult to describe the word “sincere”. The word “sincere” used here in scripture literally means without wax (sine cera) that is, honey which is pure and transparent. It is rather tricky to see through a jar of honeycomb but remove the wax leaving behind only pure honey and the jar becomes clear. This is how we are to be as Christians: pure, transparent, clear, what you see it what you get. We should never wear a mask of Christianity or as my husband calls it, having “coat rack Christianity” where you take off your “Christianity” and leave it at the door on Sundays only to pick it back up again next Sunday. Or, another word associated too many times with “Christianity” is hypocritical. Of course the sad truth is that the reason Christianity is viewed as hypocritical is because there are too many goats among the sheep. I believe that although a child of God will stumble and fall on occasion that a true believer will not live a consistent hypocritical life. For light and darkness cannot dwell together. Therefore, these hypocritical people are just pretenders of the faith.
Now, let’s talk about true believers being sincere; for even the most mature believer can have a tendency to be artificial at times. Let me explain by giving an example. Take a person who is going through a difficult time, perhaps they are having family problems, facing financial ruin, struggling with their health, or even in the midst of a spiritual war battling the enemy. They walk into church, put on a smile and “pretend” that everything is just fine.
“How are you today?”
“Oh, I’m doing great, and you?”
And they go and sit down, listen to a sermon, walk out the door and feel the same or worse than before they came into the service. Sound familiar? I’ve done it. Have you? I would say that most of us, if not all of us have at times. Why can’t a believer who is hurting walk into a church service with their brothers and sisters and share their struggles, their pains, and their worries? Why do we have so many “unspoken” prayer requests? When was the last time you heard someone ask prayer for a spiritual issue they were battling in their life? When was the last time we confessed our faults to one another and prayed for one another (James 5:16)?
While I’ve been in places describe like this, I’m so thankful to be a part of a church family where we do share our burdens (Gal. 6:2). Our church family has great love for one another, it’s apparent from the moment you walk into the midst of the church. And while the family is sincere most of the time, we can always do better. We need each other. Times are going to get hard. Our country is beginning to reap what we’ve been sowing for the last 50 years. Therefore, it’s time to remove any wax from our lives and as children of God be pure with one another.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 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. (Php 1:9-11)