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Stirring The Deep

Why do Christians Seem Two-Faced?

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Why do Christians Seem Two-Faced?

Two Face

Scenario One:
A married Christian friend, Sarah, vehemently expressed her disbelief about how a mutual friend of yours could cheat on her husband and claim to be a Christian. The next week you are out with some friends and Sarah starts flirting with another man.

Scenario Two:
You’re out one night with some friends, and your married Christian friend, Rebecca, starts flirting with another man.

These two women, Sarah and Rebecca, represent the two definitions of being two-faced.

Two-faced (adj)

1. The first definition is hypocritical or double-dealing; deceitful. It is the definition we most commonly associate with this term and is represented by Sarah. She claimed one thing then did another.

2. The second definition is literally having two faces or surfaces. True Christians have two conflicting natures – one driven by their flesh one driven by their spirit – in a sense two faces. This is represented by Rebecca. She didn’t claim one thing then do another, so she wasn’t being hypocritical. What we saw was the face of her flesh.

Christians who are two-faced in regards to the first definition are those who aren’t Christians and say they are or those who think or claim they are “good”.

We all understand hypocrisy, but what we often misunderstand are those who fall under the second definition.

This post touches upon an area that is often misunderstood in Christianity– even among Christians. How often have we heard from other Christians something like- “I can’t believe she did that – and she is a Christian!”

Battle between the flesh and spirit

In a previous blog, Where to Focus – A Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I talked about the battle authentic Christians face between the flesh and spirit. The more I abide in God’s Word the more the dissonance between my flesh and spirit becomes apparent. It is a strange phenomenon living with this duality. And one that people can’t understand if they have never experienced it. This is why many non-Christians can’t understand why Christians are so faulty. How can we talk about this new life and yet do things so contrary? How can we talk about the love of God in our lives and yet do something so utterly unloving?

The reason is we are living with two wills – one of the flesh and one of the spirit. (flesh being our self-will and spirit being of the will of God) Sometimes the one we don’t want, the flesh, is the one that shows up in situations. Romans 7:15-25 We do what we don’t want to do. When our self-will takes over, then bam we’re critical, inappropriately judgmental, complaining, hurtful, selfish, passive, prideful, arrogant, and so on.

If you are truly a Christian you don’t want to do these things, but you do and a lot more often than you want to. Growing in the spirit life takes time. It is a journey. God designed it this way for several reasons that I’ll address in a later blog.

In the beginning, Christians understand their corrupted nature. It is this awareness that helps them to grasp the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, immediately after the awareness of a new life – sometimes it’s assumed that they are supposed to be immediately good. I don’t believe it works that way. It is a process.

The spirit starts small in us like a baby – it takes time for the spirit to grow. It takes time abiding in God’s Word, which is the nourishment for our spirit. (Which few truly do.) If we don’t abide, then our spirit stays weak and the flesh dominates. It takes years for our spirit to grow even with proper nourishment – like it does a child. As we learn and grow throughout our entire physical lives, so do we in our spiritual lives. We will never walk perfectly in the spirit while living in these physical bodies. So there will always be a falleness about us. But if we nourish our spirit, it will grow stronger and over time we live more in the spirit than in the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

No One is Good

Usually our judgment of goodness is based on each other. Well I’m better than him! I’m better than most! I’m a pretty good person! But God views goodness from His goodness. And that is the goodness I’m talking about. No one is good against the standard of a holy, pure and perfect God. That is why God gave us Jesus Christ to stand in our place. He judges our goodness against true goodness – not our definitions which vary person to person. And His judgment is the only one that matters.

We would do ourselves a huge favor by removing this misnomer of goodness. Any true goodness is of God and God working in us. It is all Him. John 15:5

Being Hypocritical

If we accept the praise of goodness from others or call ourselves or anyone else good we are being hypocritical and fall under the first definition. Then we are being a poor witness to the truth that no one is truly good but God.

Matthew 19:17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

I love this verse because it lays it all out. We aren’t good. We enter eternal life not by our goodness, but by Christ’s. One of His commandments is to trust in His righteousness not our own. If we trust in our own, we will be judged by our own, and in the eyes of a holy God we don’t have a chance of standing for a second.

When you see Christians acting “out of line” – don’t be so quick to judge. We are to help one another not stand pointing a finger. It is a struggle for all of us. And the closer you draw near to God and His purity the more you see yourself as you are without Him, wretched, and the more understanding and compassion you will have for the struggle of others. God is judge. We are to encourage and exhort each other not because it is about being good, but when we walk in His commands and wisdom we walk closer with Him and experience more of the abundant life He came to give and His power is shown to the world.

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Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

39 thoughts on “Why do Christians Seem Two-Faced?

  1. This was a good message and it caused me to think over what you said. It is true that we all have fallen short and do things that we really don’t want to do. But I think one of the best barometers of Christian growth is when you stop making excuses for things you do and call it by its rightful name…..SIN!

    • Hi Marianne! – true – anything whether we call it good or bad by our terms that is counter to God’s will is sin. Anything that separates us from God is sin. And because our flesh nature does everything counter to God – God crucified it on the cross with Christ and when we are in Him we are no longer a slave to it as we were before. It is an amazing gift.

  2. I am made aware almost daily how far short of good I fall. This flesh apart from God wants wants what Jesus died for.
    And in a really odd way I am thankful for the times I have strayed….because in recognizing what depths I will sink without Him….I am able to then realize how pure and lovely He is. Hope that makes sense.
    And so….knowing what I know about myself…..I try and follow the scripture that tells us to pray for a brother caught in sin. Because but for the grace of God….I would probably find myself in the same spot. And honestly….have probably been in the same spot.
    And really…if you have been there before….how can you not help but feel love for them when you know where they are and what an uphill climb they are going to have on the way out?

    • Hi Sharon! Some great points. And it does make sense. I am often thankful for my “lost” past because having gone my own way and seeing the ramicifications of it compells me to seek His way. I have found God truly does want our best (something I doubted for a long time) and abiding in His truth is life, freedom and all that we truly want.

  3. Hi Rachel, I was reminded about an mini preaching entitled How TO Have Real Faith by Rick Warren. Christians don’t live a life pleasing to God nowadays. And as you said, we are driven by either our flesh or by the spirit. Unfortunately, many claims to be believers/christians but most of them do not live by the spirit. They control themselves and their lifestyle does not testify their faith. In todays situation I guess, christians really need to live a brand new lifestyle. Doing God’s will and pleasing God. It’s hard to change, but it takes REAL FAITH to obey what the bible tells us, right?

    In fact, there is what people call “Evidence of Faith.” Everyone who claims to be a christian should show their evidence by the way they live.. 🙂

    • Edwin – thanks for sharing your thougths . . . – yes it takes real faith and that comes from spending time with God in His Word. When we cultivate a true intimacy with Him in truth our faith grows which allows us to live more in His ways and promises – thus evidence of our faith. Romans 10:17 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Good afternoon. The computer is acting nutty, but I’ll try this. Without a doubt the old nature is a formidable foe that never tires of trying to regain control. In fact I think that this may be the single biggest challenge as we strive to be a city set upon a hill; urging those around us to come to Jesus. In this household there have been circumstances where the old nature wanted to react in ways that probably would have dissolved the family. And there have been situations where, had I been walking in the Spirit, things today would be on a somewhat smoother course.

    Last night while at work, I was thinking about this whole thing. Souls in this household outside of Christ, who will one day be in eternity. It was a moment when suddenly the seriousness of this was just unveiled in w deeper way and I realized just how “not up to the task” I am in my own understanding. Realizing what is at stake really drives home the need to keep the old nature under and walk in the Spirit.

    Sorry for rambling. This household is a deeply divided and hotly contested battlefield. When I react in a way that’s not Christlike, it gets noticed by those who want to know if I’m authentic. This post offers an excellent breakdown of this issue. Thanks.

    Blessings always in Jesus name

    timbob

    • Hi Timbob — I agree – the flesh is one of the biggest obstacles to being a light to the world – and that is why I feel our understanding of this dynamic between the flesh and spirit is so important. There have been so many misconceptions about the Christian life. And when we dive in and understand then we can articulate the truth to others.

  5. My maternal grandmother played a big part in my upbringing, so it is natural that some of her mannerisms and colloquialisms persist in me to this day. She was a well-known thrifty shopper, and sometimes, when I find myself at a supermarket, internally debating whether I should purchase some luxury item, I have to chuckle when I hear myself say, as I put it back on the shelf, “Well, I reckon I don’t really need that.”

    I often joke, when I’m teaching on Romans 6:11, that the Apostle Paul must have been a Southerner at heart, since he, too, uses the term, “reckon.” “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    However, the reckoning to which Paul, under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, refers, is somewhat different. When people are saved from their sinful condition by God’s grace, and reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, and through the reality of His shed blood on the Cross, there is reason enough to rejoice. But the great saving work of the Lord is even richer. Not only does God see born-again believers as “righteous” in Christ Jesus, but His Spirit, Who indwells these believers, also breaks the power of sin over their life.

    The way to appropriate this power, and to live in purity and holiness before God, is to access the truth of Scripture, believe it, yield to it, and understand that your former self is “dead.” In other words, “reckon” yourself to be dead, and understand that the only way to live again is to live in Christ Jesus.

    Let us who have been saved live victoriously for God, since the power of sin has been broken. Can this really happen in your life? Only if you “reckon” so.

    • Minsitry Addict – well said! God has given us so much but we have to believe it, trust it, and act on it and reckon it so.

  6. May we as true christian continue to walk in the Spirit so that we won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh and continually have a heart after righteousness thru the power and strength of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

  7. Thanks for stopping in! This post really made me think! God bless!

  8. Pingback: WHY Christians Live with a Dual Nature? « Stirring the Deep

  9. I appreciate your grace toward brothers and sisters who are still growing in the grace and mercy of God.

    • Warren – yes, sometimes we are too hard and judgmental of each other. I’ve been as much at fault of this in the past as anyone but God has taught me a bit different perspective. We need to be exhorting and encouraging.

  10. i have noticed a double standard with some “christians” and targeted at me!!!
    i have been told well god cant do this in your life
    and he has a plan for you yada yada yada
    i will never take god serious ever if people keep dictating outcomes of things for god in my life and creating theses scenarios that have cuased me to worry. really i dont think in 34 years i have heard god cant do anything in my life and can do all things just not in mine, the finger is pointed at the me regardless is i am guilty or not.
    god hasnt called them to be single but he has me.
    no.
    no one knows my future!!!!

    the bottom line
    no person can predict with accuracy what god is going to do
    no more than they can predict play for play in a football game that hasnt been played yet

    • Kathryn,

      I am so glad that you stopped by and left a comment. I hear you . . . it is very frustrating when people start dictating confusing messages – which unfortunately happens far too often – but most Christians are living in their own strength and knowledge and not God’s. They haven’t taken time to really seek His face in His Word of truth – they parrot what they have heard from the pulpit and so they are often not standing on solid ground – that is why what they say seems mixed up. But I encourage you to not make your decision about God based on others. Our foundation is to be on God’s truth – not others. Seek God and His truth you will find Him. We can learn from others – but our foundation is to be in God’s Word because people are far from perfect.

      Sorry you have had a frustrating experience. I’ve been there too many times. But the key is seeking God’s truth not focusing on what is coming from everyone else’s mouth. You are right only God knows- so seek HIm. We each have our own journey – we need to honor that.

      • Hmm… I’ve been starting to do this. My earlier comments, some of my delineation had to do with what I heard from a few Pastors. I remember after my Bible studies, I felt a need to grow more spiritually.

  11. Hi Rachel
    Finally I found this wonderful post!!! I had been thinking about it for awhile,it’s so very good and you really give a good clear picture of to 2 natures within us,I truly enjoyed this and did share it.
    Love you much and have a good night. 😀 😀

    • Hi Pat – thanks for your comment! Glad you liked it. As learn more about this dual nature – it explains a lot 🙂

  12. Hey Rachel, I agree with you &much of what the congregation had to say. Another point would be; at a point in time when I knew for sure “Jesus is the answer”, I had a heart felt closeness to the Lord & attempted to learn of Him. However, it depended on the moment I was in, as to weather I was lord or Jesus was Lord. I suppose this comes under the sowing of seed? “what ever”, I can only see it as Marianne said, I was a two faced liar before Jesus! From my birth to being a grown man, lying-deseat was the only life around me. I hate it with a burning passion &here I was doing it my self. It still took many years to come to the understanding that becoming Christan, has to start on the inside! “Clean house completely, then fill it with God’s knowledge”

    • Hi Eldon – thanks for sharing your experience in this topic …. Growing in the wisdom and knowledge of God is a process that takes time as and it does we change little by little as He prepares us to dwell in as His temple. Along that path our will longs to be united to God but we continue to act from old mindsets. It takes patience, perservance and mercy. We have to trust our growth and development to His workmanship, and perserve to abide in Truth as He instructs us.

  13. Yeah, Christians are two-faced, I can totally relate to that. This is why I’m a proud atheist now. Too many of my Christian friends turned out to be disloyal, racist, homophobic, sleazy, immoral, slutty or just plain dishonest. Honestly, who needs enemies when your best friends are all Christians?

    • there is a lot of deception out there within religions … this is why God calls us to a relationship with Him not a religion and no images, as those that abound in religion. One is no different from the next with mere religion … it’s only when people are truly communing and seeking God in truth and spirit is there any difference … and then it’s a journey.

      Don’t make your assessements of God based on people following themselves, for it’s who you suffer for that judgment … seek God and you will begin to find Him as He truly is and He is life.

    • Do not turn away from your christianity because if those types. Jesus is for us too! I totally can relate though – I have so called ‘good christians’ that sit in the front pews yet are greedy, gossipy, immoral. Jesus just wanted us to be kind to one another and not judge. Heck life is hard enough. Jesus is our home boy too !

  14. You turned away from the
    Love of God
    due-to other people’s faults
    and mistaken identities?
    I guess you missed the
    teaching of forgiveness
    yourself.
    You’ve joined the same crowd.
    You became Christianphobic
    because someone else was
    homophobic?
    You became immoral and racist
    because they were?
    Your not atheist,
    your selftheist.

  15. Hello Rachel,I’m back LOL!! Looking for encouragement in this trying time.For the pass week or more it’s been like cloud 9,I mean the presence of God was glorious! But——–then comes the test “whew”! I knew a test was coming,but we’re not as ready as we think,but God is taking me there. Because now I can praise Him in the middle of ________!! And this middle is family,oh my!
    Love you Rachel do pray for me to give in to the Holy Spirit. 😀

    • Hi Pat! It’s good to hear from you. The finishing touches are being done among those vessels willingly being prepared for a spiritual union with Christ. Some of the purging can be tough .. but listen diligently to the counsel of the Holy Spirit in your soul for indeed the path is narrow. Yet, as the residue of the world is stripped away from our soul .. we grow in an abundance of God’s pure honoring love.

  16. Reblogged this on Pat's Letters God Inspired and commented:
    Very good encouraging post,I’ve enjoyed and loved it for years,enjoy.

  17. Excellent post!!! Amen !

  18. Christians don’t just seem hypocritical and deceitful – many of them are.

    even those who go to church frequently quite often present a different persona to their congregation than they do in their real life.

    it is similar to the persona many people present online in their forums or in an MMO – just not the same personality at all.

    • Christians do not claim to be perfect people. People are people are people. All of us are hypocritical in many ways and facades can be as much projected on others by the viewer, rather than being endemic to a particular people group. Facades are often produced simply because we are creative, and humorous individuals, changing with our environments, and growing in our understanding. Christians believe that all people are fallen creatures, by sin, and that Jesus is the only Way to the Heavenly Father.
      Buddism, is only a way of meditation, that supposedly leads to ‘enlightenment’. Buddism has no faith, and does not follow after a faith toward God. So no, they are not both a way to the same place. We are seeking after the Creator, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

    • Hi Jim,

      There is the religion of Christianity (what the majority know and think of when they think of Jesus, the Bible, etc) .. then there are true seekers of truth and love. The former is full of hypocrisy and lies as it is full of false images of God like all religions. No religions lead to the true Creator, they are man-made images around a Creator who has no image. They block you from Him. Why Jesus came promoting a Father of love and not a religious organization.

      When you truly seek the truth and love, thus God, for He is the source of truth ( the wisdom that leads to eternal life) and righteous love, you find incredible gentle power (as true power is), peace and rest .. and yes a love far purer than anything of this earth. When you worship and serve false images you don’t find these things, thus the hypocrisy.

      May we be seekers of truth … for that path leads to everylasting life and as lies led to what they are a dead end.

  19. I have read the posts here and let me add that Jesus is not THE answer he is AN answer. the answer I found is Buddhism.

    the prophet or rather teacher made no claim on god head and the sutra are not mystical messages from a God who watches from above and will reward us if we are nice and punish us if we dare to worship anyone that is not from the particular culture that wrote his book.

    Buddhism is as much a way of life as a religion.

    personally I believe that every religion has part of the truth and none of them have all of the truth

  20. Christianity teaches that God placed all our punishment on Christ Jesus, the Savior of the World.
    God is not looking for any reason to punish, but to deliver us from the punishment that we have brought to ourselves. God is seeking to reconcile us to Himself through the Love of Jesus. Sometimes we are poor representatives of that love, nevertheless, God has chosen to give us His love, unconditionally through Jesus.
    Only God could choose the Way for this to be accomplished.

  21. Thank you for this post, and comments everyone… WS…

  22. Pingback: Are You Really Born Again?

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