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Sincerity

vs. Hypocrisy
Eagerness to do what is right, with transparent motives

Key Verse

“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.”
I Peter 1:22

The operational definition of sincerity is “eagerness to do what is right, with transparent motives.” God’s Word tells us what is right and that we should desire to eagerly do His will. “I will run the way of thy commandments . . . . I shall observe it [Thy Law] with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:32, 34). Sincerity, however, looks beyond one’s “right” actions and examines the heart motives behind them. Motives are the reasons why we do what we do. Sincere motives are based on God’s stand­ard of righteousness, not on what society or culture finds acceptable. One of the Greek words for sincere means “judged in the sunlight.” Holding a drinking glass up to the sunlight reveals water spots that you otherwise might not see. Likewise, you can examine your own motives by holding them up to the light of God’s Word, which is able to discern the real intentions of your heart. (See Hebrews 4:12.) Godly actions are motivated by love instead of selfishness.

The actions of a sincere person are an accurate reflection of his motives.
Just as false fronts made old western buildings look taller than they really were, so a hypocrite puts on a “front” to appear to be someone he really is not.

The opposite of sincerity is hypocrisy. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to be someone he is not. He may appear to be moral, upright, or religious, but in reality, he cares more about keeping up an appearance than being in right standing with God. What he does in private is also different from what he teaches others to do. Jesus repeatedly rebuked the religious leaders for teaching people to do what they would not practice themselves! Because of this hypocrisy, Jesus taught the people to follow the leaders’ right teachings but not to copy their actions which were contrary to those teachings. (See Matthew 23:1–3.) Do your actions show that you sincerely believe with your heart what your lips say is right? Or do your actions reveal a hypocritical heart that is far from God?
(See Isaiah 29:13.)

Evaluation Questions

  • Am I seeking the Lord and His ways with my whole heart?
  • Do I uphold Scriptural principles whether I am at home or in public?
  • Do I try to justify or hide certain sins in my life?
  • Am I harsh with others who possess the same shortcomings that I have?
  • Is my primary goal to please men or God?
  • Am I allowing God to change me from the inside out, or am I trying to copy the outward good actions of others?
  • Am I transparent about my failures so that I can gain the accountability I need for spiritual growth?
  • Are my words and actions consistent with each other, or are they contradictory?
  • Do I genuinely try to help others without wanting anything in return?

More About Sincerity

Sincerity is letting God shine through our blemishes rather than trying to cover them up.
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Sincerity with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:

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Examine my motives.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” PSALM 139:23–24
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Speak with integrity.

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” EPHESIANS 4:25
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Be wholly dedicated.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I JOHN 2:15
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Be all that He wants me to be.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” I PETER 1:13–16
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Be genuine.

“Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” PSALM 32:2
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Remove the mask.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” MATTHEW 23:27–28
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Take responsibility for my actions.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” PROVERBS 28:13
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Be transparent.

“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” JOHN 3:20–21
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Mean what I say.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” I JOHN 4:20
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Not take advantage of others.

“Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God.” LEVITICUS 25:17

Sincerity in Scripture

God’s Reward to a wholehearted Follower

Once the battles were fought, Caleb asked Joshua for the land Moses had promised him “because . . . [Caleb had] wholly followed the Lord.”
Joshua 14:9
Two years after their deliverance from Egypt, God’s people finally arrived at the edge of Canaan, the Promised Land. Twelve men were appointed to spy out the land, and after forty days, they returned to tell their people of the fertile, fruitful land! They also warned about great walled cities and mighty giants. One spy named Caleb encouraged those listening to take the land. However, ten of the spies insisted that Canaan would be too difficult to conquer. The Israelites believed the negative report, murmured against Moses, and threatened to return to Egypt! Caleb, along with Joshua, pleaded with the rebellious people to believe God’s promise. Yet, the congregation angrily determined to stone them. God instead judged the faithless nation, sending them wandering in the desert for forty years — one year for each day the spies had been in the land. However, God noted Caleb’s sincere faith and promised him a special portion of land. In the wilderness, Caleb witnessed God’s presence and provision for Israel. After Moses commissioned Joshua to lead the new generation onward, the Israelites once again arrived at the Promised Land. Would Caleb still seek to claim the land God had promised him? Had God sustained Caleb’s wholehearted dedication during the forty long years in the desert?

Revealed in Nature

Honeybee

Honeybees have unusual skill in communication. Using body language and uniquely formulated scents called pheromones, bees convey reliable messages describing danger, work assignments, and food sources. These are vital for the survival of the entire hive.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to examine themselves and ask God to purify their motives.

View the Sincerity booklet sample:

Get the complete Sincerity booklet with all four lessons & activities:

Free Resources for Sincerity

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
Our walk talks and our talk talks, but our walk talks louder than our talk talks.
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