I like the way the New American Standard Bible (1995) translates verse 4 of Psalm 26. The writer says, “I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders.” Most translations say “hypocrites.” It’s the same thing. Hypocrites pretend to be something they are not. It’s just dishonest living.

I like what Howard Butt says in his “The Art of Being a Big Shot.” He made some powerful insights and one of them is this: It is my pride that makes me independent of God. It’s appealing to me to feel that I am the master of my fate, that I run my own life, call my own shots, go it alone. But that feeling is my basic dishonesty. I can’t go it alone. I have to get help from other people, and I can’t ultimately rely on myself. I’m dependent on God for my next breath. It is dishonest of me to pretend that I’m anything but a man—small, weak, and limited. So, living independent of God is self-delusion. It is not just a matter of pride being an unfortunate little trait and humility being an attractive little virtue; it’s my inner psychological integrity that’s at stake. When I am conceited, I am lying to myself about what I am. I am pretending to be God, and not man. My pride is the idolatrous worship of myself. And that is the national religion of Hell!

Jesus often condemned the Pharisees for being hypocrites. They were all dressed up on the outside, but what lie within was rotten to the core like the inside of a coffin. I can honestly say that I’m like the Psalmist. “I do not go with (hypocrites) pretenders,” but I take one with me wherever I go!

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” (Psalm 19:1-2)