Spiritual fakery is one of the chief tools of the enemy. It is one of the key ingredients of spiritual blindness. This is why we read the warning in Matthew 7:15: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." The kingdom of self is very skilled at wearing the clothing of the kingdom of God. So:
- A focus on material things can masquerade as good stewardship of your possessions.
- Loving personal control can masquerade as using God-given leadership gifts.
- Anger can masquerade as having a heart for what is right.
- Self-righteous legalism can masquerade as God's loving law.
- Building your own ministry empire can masquerade as a commitment to the expansion of God's kingdom.
- Fear of man can masquerade as a sensitive heart towards the needs of others.
- Selfish attention-seeking can masquerade as being candid about your needs.
- Judgment and criticism can masquerade as a commitment to honesty.
- Theological pride can masquerade as a commitment to God's truth.
- A craving to be known and respected can masquerade as a commitment to ministry.
- Bondage to the opinions of others can masquerade as a commitment to community.
- Lust can masquerade as a celebration of the beauty of God's creation.
- Gossip can masquerade as a prayerful concern for others.
It really is true-- the kingdom of self is a costume kingdom. This is because one of the enemy's most useful tools is the ability of wrong to imitate right. Couple this with our natural propensity to spiritual blindness and you end up with personal spiritual confusion. It is scary to think of the number of times we think we are serving God when we're actually serving ourselves, or the number of times we think we are worshiping God when we're actually giving worship and service to some aspect of the creation.
The masquerading nature of sin plays to the fickleness of our idolatrous hearts. So what is often is not what we think it is, and the masquerading idol has no power at all to deliver to our hungry hearts what Jesus alone can give us. Only God can give us insight into our hearts and free us from our bondage to the little costume kingdom of one.
For further study and encouragement: Jeremiah 10:1-16
Taken from the book- NEW MORNING MERCIES
by Paul David Tripp