Tag Archives: hypocrisy

The Uniform is Useless | Bible Gleanings – June 26-27, 2021

The truth always comes out—just ask John K. Giles, the failed escapee from Alcatraz Island. After an unsuccessful train heist, he began serving his federal sentence in the legendary Alcatraz Penitentiary. This maximum-security prison housed gangsters and thugs like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly—and Giles landed himself behind bars with them. Such infamous criminals were sent to Alcatraz because it was considered inescapable. But Giles was cunning—and he found a way out.

The U.S. Army used to send laundry to Alcatraz Island to be washed—it kept the prisoners busy and kept our armed forces in clean uniforms. Giles worked at the loading dock where the military laundry was delivered to be washed. And piece by piece, he sneakily snagged a complete army uniform. Then on July 31, 1945, he merely dressed in the uniform and walked aboard an army boat, pretending to be an officer. Unfortunately for Giles, the boat was not headed for freedom like he expected. The boat docked at Fort McDowell on Angel Island, a major processing location for troops during World War II. As he set foot on Angel Island, he was back in cuffs again.

He fooled the army officials for a while, and may have fooled himself as well—but he couldn’t keep it up forever. He wore an army uniform on the outside, but he was still John K. Giles, the criminal, on the inside.

One of the most sobering truths in all of Scripture is that many people wear the Christian uniform on the outside yet remain unconverted on the inside. You can wear every piece of the suit and still be lost in your sins. You can be baptized, read the Bible, attend church regularly, give large offerings, and do other good works, but none of that matters if you aren’t changed by the gospel. According to Jesus, many individuals will fool others and even themselves into believing they are sincere believers, but they will not fool Him.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

How can you truly be saved, according to Jesus? By coming to know Him in faith. People trusting in their “many mighty works” will be cast away from the presence of the Lord into eternal hell. Only those who know Christ can be assured that their boat is headed for heaven instead of hell. Since you can’t fool the Lord, repent of your sins and believe that Christ and His work are enough for your salvation. 


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

What’s Under Your Roof? | Bible Gleanings – April 3-4, 2021

What’s Under Your Roof?

The woman’s home and land had the kind of beauty and elegance that instantly made you think, “Oh yeah—this person is loaded.” The two-story home was decorated with charcoal-colored brick with a gleaming texture. Vivid flowers surrounded the house and every bush was flawlessly whittled down. The exposed aggregate driveway wound aesthetically through the yard, weaving through the gorgeous green and hilly property. Speaking of green, I’ll bet that not one blade of grass was improperly trimmed.

This heavenly home was also the workplace of an accredited tax preparer my father and I had visited to pay our dues to Caesar.1 My mouth dropped in awe at the enticing appearance of the outside. However, my mouth dropped even farther as we were welcomed through the front door. Mountains of paperwork smothered the tables and countertops. Another mountain was in the sink—a pile of dirty dishes that would have tumbled had one more fork been laid on top. And a tornado of children had obviously blown through every room, as Barbie dolls and soldier toys lay far and wide.

Now—I’m not being critical—just take a look inside my home! The point is, looks are deceiving. What was under the roof contradicted what was outside of the walls. The condition of the inside was completely different from the appearance of the outside. And appearances only go so far—what really matters is what’s inside.

Apparently, the Lord God agrees: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). God cares about the condition of the inside, that which is “under your roof,” within your heart. And it doesn’t matter if the lawn of your life is perfectly trimmed if the living room of your heart is a sinful mess. External conformity to Scripture is meaningless without internal purity. As Jesus once said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28). Jesus also said that upkeep of the outside is foolish if we neglect maintenance on the inside (Luke 11:39-40).

The truth is, none of us have our house in order—we all need the Spirit of God to make the inside clean. That is why you must be washed and regenerated by the Spirit as you take hold of Christ by faith alone (Titus 3:5). And after your heart has been purified by the Spirit, you must continually pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). So, what’s under your roof?

  1. This story is from many years ago, in a location far away from Murray. That’s why I thought no harm would be done in sharing this account. Plus, I know the woman referenced and she would get a kick out of this story as she is a faithful believer in Christ.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Nurturing What is Fake | Bible Gleanings, October 24-25, 2020

Nurturing What Is Fake

Caelie Wilkes felt accomplished and proud. For two years, she successfully nurtured and cared for a succulent given to her by a friend. Her other house plants had shriveled and died, so she was feeling particularly gratified, considering she did not have a green thumb.

Things were different for this little succulent. Caelie carefully watered it when necessary. She read articles online on how to properly tend to succulents. And when friends tried to help the plant, she became protective like a mama bear. The leaves were firm, waxy, and green—all indicators of vibrant health. The succulent emitted joy as it sat in the kitchen window, illuminating the area.

One day, she determined it was time to repot the lucky plant. And it was then that she made a shattering discovery—the succulent she had religiously fostered was plastic! Beneath the surface was artificial sand and Styrofoam. USA Today covered this true story and Caelie remarked, “I put so much love into this plant! I washed it’s leaves. Tried my hardest to keep it looking its best, and it’s completely plastic!” She expended a considerable amount of time and strength to nurture what was fake all along.

Albeit an amusing story, what is quite tragic is that we can each do this in our spiritual lives. Like Caelie, we can spend time and effort in nurturing what is fake—tending to a hypocritical life that is as fake as plastic. You can give the impression that you are righteous while your heart is full of unrighteousness. God said to the Israelites, “[These] people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13). Mere lip service while your heart is distant from the Lord is a plastic succulent in His sight.

Jesus sternly warns about nurturing a fake-succulent-kind-of-life: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). A day is coming when God will reveal the “roots” of all people, and it will become clear who is genuinely righteous and only righteous by appearance (2 Peter 3:10). Therefore, nurture authenticity instead of hypocrisy. Tend to and maintain an authentic, genuine life of righteousness.

You can begin by first trusting wholly in Christ as your Savior and Lord. If you have already done that, then strive to live righteously in order to be seen only by the Lord. Be more concerned with the inward condition of your heart than the outward appearance of your life. Be honest about your faults and shortcomings. Depend daily on God’s real grace to live a real righteous life. And don’t worry about watering the “plastic succulent.”


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Actor Portrayal | BIBLE GLEANINGS AUGUST 22-23, 2020

Actor Portrayal

Many commercials on television promote new products and services with personal testimony from people who have benefited from the product themselves. When a new gadget hits the market, you’ll see someone in the commercial rave about how it has changed their lives for the better. When a new medicine is developed, the person in the commercial is seen enjoying their lives like never before. However, if you pay close attention you will often see the words ACTOR PORTRAYAL in tiny print near the bottom of the screen. That signals that the individual in the advertisement hasn’t actually used the product or service for themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I immediately question the effectiveness of whatever they’re advertising if the company has to hire an actor to promote it. In fact, it makes me think the product or service doesn’t work at all! The actors are real and so is their enthusiasm, but their claim about the proficiency of a product or service is repudiated when there is no real evidence that they themselves have been changed by it. It’s all acting.

The Bible talks about actor portrayal. The Lord Jesus sternly warned that it is possible to offer lip service to God while your heart is far from Him: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8). You can be enthusiastic about God and the gospel without actually being changed by the gospel or encountering God for yourself. Reading the Bible, going to church, singing hymns, and doing good works are just an actor portrayal if you haven’t experienced the life-changing power of the gospel firsthand. Even if you have genuinely trusted in Christ and believed the gospel, people will question the effectiveness of the gospel if you show little to no evidence that you’ve been changed by it. If you don’t practice what you preach, people will wonder whether or not the gospel works at all. When we live no differently than anyone else, it is as though “actor portrayal” has been visibly labeled upon our lives.

Hypocrisy always kills the appeal of the gospel. God doesn’t call you to act before men, but to live a genuinely righteous life before Him: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Obviously, no Christian is perfect and there’ll even be times when you live hypocritically—it happens to all of us. The issue is not with occasional falls into the sin of hypocrisy. The issue is if you promote the effectiveness of the gospel but contradict that claim by living the same as everyone else. Have you been changed by the gospel or is your life an actor portrayal?

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it will be posted for reading here.

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Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).