Have you ever wondered how to avoid having any trace of pretense? To make an unsupported claim about one’s accomplishment is pretending to be something we are not. Paul spoke harshly against the pretentious Jewish teachers of his day because they preach too little to themselves. These pretentious teachers taught others what they did not feel the need to practice themselves. In this passage Paul explains certain sins of pretense that the Jewish teachers were guilty of: stealing, committing adultery, sacrilege and various forms of hypocrisy. Paul admonished the pretentious teachers for bringing shame to God’s name and creating a stumbling block for those who were yet to believe. The immoral teachers were not practicing what they taught and became a hindrance to the acceptance of the truth. Whenever a teacher’s life is morally defective their overt or hidden pretentiousness will hinder the free flow of the grace, love and truth of the scriptures. The following is one small method of helping people overcome the problems of pretentiousness:
1. Describe the Ideal Aspects of Each Issue in Terms of Biblical Principles – Construct the model of how Jesus and Paul would define, instruct, explain, correlate, apply and communicate the truths of each topic. The topic may be about the works of the flesh like anger, jealousy, slander, greed, laziness, immorality or apathy. On a more positive note, the topic may be about the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness or self-control. Search the scripture to make sound observations, interpretations, correlations, applications, evaluations and communicational examples on the key aspects of the topic. Base the ideal explanation on the relevant attributes of God to each subject matter. Ask the Lord to help you to be led in all truth according to the leading of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13)
2. Describe the Reality Aspects of Each Topic in Our Present Day Context – After conducting thorough library, field and informal research outline the reality of each topic. Thoroughly explain the problems of the topic in terms of present day happenings. Give examples of how the present day realities are hindering the seeking first of His kingdom and righteousness in quantitative and qualitative ways. Use case studies to give the full objective and subjective flavor of the how people are wrestling with this topic in the real world. Objectively state the facts about the leadership’s views, attitudes and actions or lack of thereof on your topic. Relate authentic, original and non-pretentious information on the stark reality of the topic’s relevant needs.
3. Describe the Reasons Why There is a Gap Between the Ideal and Reality of Each Topic – Ask the Lord for wisdom in helping to discern the reasons why there exists a dissonance between the ideal and the reality of your topic. For example the gap between the Biblical ideal and its reality may be selfishness, spiritual immaturity or lack of a commitment to Christ’s priorities of the great commandment and the great commission. Explore the surface and root cause reasons why the gap is getting bigger or smaller between the ideals and present day realities in individual, group or church lifestyles.
4. Suggest Solution Steps for Closing the Gap Between the Ideal and the Reality in your topic – Come up with suggestions from the Bible, experience, literature and Godly counsel to narrow the distance that exists between the ideal and the reality of your topic. You may need to seek help from Godly people who have more knowledge, experience and wisdom in solving some of the problems of fusing the ideal with the reality of each situation. Trust the Lord to give you the wherewithal to make a positive contribution to helping people become more like Christ in their mental, emotional, physical, attitudinal, social, cultural and spiritual maturities. Paul wrote, "Speaking the truth in love let us grow up in ALL aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)