He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
It is easy to know if you love God or not. A fool says, “You can’t judge me, because you don’t know my heart.” But Solomon says you can know his heart easily. You simply judge him by his actions. Good men show they love God; bad men show they hate Him.
O hypocrite! You have been found out. Your talk is cheap. Your Sunday religion is vain. Your baptism is empty. Your friendship is false. Your words lie. Your actions tell the truth. Your lack of godly living and your wicked choices prove that you truly hate God.
You will soon be exposed before the whole church (Pr 26:26; Ps 144:7-8). You are afraid to say you hate God, but your actions say you despise Him. Your pious words or regular attendance mean nothing, for a man that truly fears God will obey Him in all parts of life.
The man who walks uprightly – does that which is right all the time – fears the Lord. The man perverse in his ways – who regularly disobeys – despises the Lord. This rule is simple; it is accurate; and hypocrites claiming to fear God do not deceive wise men at all.
A common proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” Solomon agreed. He said even children are known by their doings, whether they are pure and right (Pr 20:11). Do not believe what you hear, if a person’s actions contradict it (Pr 14:15; 26:6-7,24-25).
Good trees bear good fruit; evil trees bear evil fruit. And so it is with man. Unless his heart is good, his actions will be evil. The mouth speaks and the feet walk according to what is in the heart. Evil men cannot bring forth good actions (Matt 12:33-35). No matter how hard a hypocrite tries, wise men see the inconsistent life betraying his words.
Hypocrites do not want to be discovered or judged, for their whole life is a lie. They pretend they fear the Lord in order to get something. They defend their inconsistent lives by denying that anyone knows their hearts. But sincere hearts are known by consistent righteousness, and evil hearts are known by sins. The rule is simple to identify character.
Why do men pretend to fear God? Think closely, dear reader. They need something in the church, so they act religious to get it. They need friends, and Christians are friendly. They need a job, and their boss is a Christian. They need a spouse, and the best women are Christians. They want financial help, and Christians are generous. They fear their spouse leaving, so they obligate her as a Christian. They will pretend to keep their family happy.
The fear of the Lord is not a single profession of an emotional event. “Going forward” at a revival is not scriptural or Christian, so it has no meaning at all. “Making a decision” is not walking uprightly; it is just vain thinking. “Getting saved” shows great ignorance about salvation, for there are at least five phases of it. “Being baptized” or “joining the church” are only single, small steps. They alone do not prove the fear of the Lord at all.
The fear of the Lord is a lifestyle of obeying God, keeping His commandments, and hating sin (Eccl 12:13; Pr 8:13; 16:6). The early churches walked in the fear of the Lord, for they gave up their lives to follow Jesus Christ, even at great personal cost (Acts 9:31). Let Solomon’s father David tell you how he walked uprightly in his house (Psalm 101).
Walking is not a step: it is many steps. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). If you do not continue, you do not fear the Lord. You are to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long (Pr 23:17). Others can judge your heart.
Few say they hate God. How horrible! But a lazy spiritual life with sin says louder than words that you despise Him (Mal 1:6-14). If you are not sold out for Him, He despises you and your life (Rev 3:14-19). Loving Christ means keeping His commandments (John 14:21-24). Knowing God truly is only by keeping His commandments (I John 2:3-5).
Eli despised God by loving his sons too much (I Sam 2:29-30). He was perverse in his ways by not killing them. David despised God by taking Bathsheba (II Sam 12:9-10). He was perverse in his ways by taking another woman. These great men violated the rule.
O hypocrite, consider your ways. You have been found out! And if your evil heart is known by men, how much more does God know your hypocrisy and wicked heart, before whom all things are naked and opened (Heb 4:12-14)? Repent of your hypocrisy today.
O beloved Christian, keep your heart with all diligence (Pr 4:23). Pray for God to examine it thoroughly (Ps 139:23-24; 26:1-2). Confess every variance from His holy standard in Scripture. Remember that your heart is only as good and pure as your actions.
What of Jesus Christ’s heart? It was full of the fear of the Lord, and God honored His heart by hearing His prayer (Heb 5:7-9). His perfect life proved His perfect heart. Let Him be your holy and perfect example. Be a living epistle of Him every day (II Cor 3:3).