2 Ways to Identify a Hypocrite

How can you identify a hypocrite? How can you tell if you're being a hypocrite? In this post, I give you two ways to identify hypocrisy and the antidote.  #Biblestudy #Isaiah #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

What is a hypocrite?

A hypocrite is an actor. Essentially it’s being a liar. A hypocrite pretends to be one way but behind closed doors, they are really another.

Webster’s dictionary says: 1.) a hypocrite is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2.) A hypocrite is a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

Hypocrisy in the Church

Sometimes it’s easier to detect the hypocrisy in someone else, than it is in your own life but other times, it is very hard to see it in someone else. There are some really great actors in the church!

And let me even take it one step further and say that I know that since my ministry is on-line — it may be hard for you to discern how authentic I am. I may do a series on prayer but how do you know that I really pray or not?

I remember when I was recording a video titled “Living the Prayer Filled Life” I decided to pull out ALL of my journals and show them on the video because I thought – I could say that I’ve journaled my prayers for the last 25 years OR I could show you – so you could see that indeed – this girl does do what she says.

Hypocrisy is a sin – so we must guard against it. But on the flip side, we also have to remember that the church is made up of sinners. We are all going to fall at times and that does not make us a hypocrite. That makes us human and that is why Jesus died on the cross — because none of us are perfect.

We are ALL in need of a savior from our sins. But hypocrites tend to have an air of pride and self-righteousness. They lack grace, are judgmental, do their good deeds for others to see and love the praise of man rather than seeking to honor God with their heart.

That brings us to our reading in Isaiah this week. In Isaiah chapter 29, God’s people were pretending to honor God with their lips but their hearts were far from God.

Isaiah 29:13 says:

And the Lord said:
“Because this 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)

Jesus calls people who live this way…hypocrites.

In Matthew 15, Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13. {Sidenote: I love how the Old Testament is connected to the New Testament in this way! Check this out!}

Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes:

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
(Matthew 15:7-9)

You see, the Pharisees and scribes had created rituals and traditions that they expected everyone to keep. These were man made rules added to the words of God that they required people to follow. While they followed all of these rules and looked righteous on the outside, on the inside, their hearts were far from God.

Jesus condemned this by calling them hypocrites.

In some ways, it may be easier to follow man made rules than it is to have a heart that is close to God. It takes time to stop and be still and draw near to God. It takes time to listen and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It takes love to allow others the freedom to make different decisions than we make in our lives.

At times, when I’m unsure of certain issues not addressed in the Bible – I just wish God would give me a formula to follow. It feels like it’d be easier! But he does not do that. Instead, he asks me to draw near to him with my whole heart and listen and follow his leading.

God leads each of us differently.

Are you a hypocrite?

Is your heart near or far from God?

Have you added man made rules and traditions to the words of God?

Often times it is people who say they have a “high view” of the Bible, who are very judgmental and hypocritical. They reveal how truly low their view is of scripture, by how they raise their own standards and rules, above the freedom of the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of others.

Both Isaiah and Jesus said that the “teaching as doctrines commandments of men” is wrong. This was wrong because they were more focused on people’s outward behavior than their hearts being close to God.

Friends, I have gone to church all of my life and I have seen this all too much. I’ve watched Christians make up all sorts of rules to try to create righteousness in the hearts of his people.

Jesus IS our righteousness.

There is not a rule on this planet that will save a soul. We should be ALL about leading others into a relationship with Christ – because once we are saved and walking with the Lord – we will be strengthened and convicted of our sin and then we will walk in his ways.

Religion tries to control people,
while a relationship with God is a surrender to God’s control.

God is ALL about our relationship with him and others. He is love. He is not about rules and behavior modification and going through the motions of checking off a to do list of going to church and tithing. Anyone can do those things without the Spirit of God but it is God who transforms us from the inside out!

How is your heart today? Are you living near to God?

Adam and Eve sinned and they hid from the Lord. Guilt and shame will cause us to hide and run from God. But God wants us to draw near to him in confession. At his throne, we find grace.

We need to get into the presence of God. He is safe and he loves us so much. He gives us the power to overcome our sin and to live a new life that is honoring to him.

God forgives us over and over and that kind of love is much deeper than us trying to earn his favor with rules and right behavior.

So what are the two ways to identify a hypocrite in the church?

1.) They honor God with their lips, while their heart is far from God.

2.) They teach as doctrines the commandments of man.

It is easy to speak eloquently and pretend to be close to God but God sees the heart. And over time when you take a look at the entirety of someone’s life, you can detect who is real and authentic — and who is not.

Draw near to God today and let his word and the Holy Spirit be your guide. He loves you so much!

Keep walking with the King,


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One Comment

  1. Thank You Courtney,
    One thing I also noticed about hypocrites is they want to be the Holy Spirit for you, going as far as saying if you don’t tick off all their boxes you are not saved.
    This is very deceiving because they give the appearance of being holy but are actually overstepping God. They can be very self righteous and devouring of the flock.

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