Without Pretense


He honored me with his trust.

These words summed up my relationship with my 21 year-old grandson, who was killed in late 2006. In his short life, he had been exposed to an inordinate level of hypocrisy and deceit, within a “churchianity” context. His heart-cry was for reality and truth, which he did find.

Reciprocal trust is foundational to relationships that endure. It’s the basis of relational bonding and rapport. Yet, the snare of pretense stymies and undermines relationships that might otherwise be very meaningful. 

The American Heritage Dictionary defines pretense as “the act of pretending, a false appearance or action that deceives; a false show without reality; an outward appearance meant to deceive; artificial behavior adopted to impress others.” In essence, pretense is a veil, a counterfeit to mask reality. Its antonym is “genuineness or sincerity.”

The Fear of Man
Proverbs tells us that “the fear of man” brings a snare. It’s an acceptance thing. More often than not, pretense will be tied to a man-pleasing spirit and fear of rejection.  Pretense likewise is the mark of manipulative behavior patterns.

King Saul never quite got it right.  His fears and deep-seated insecurities drove him to operate as a man-pleaser. His life was a tragic succession of pretense and being obsessed with outward appearances. Psalm 15 admonishes us to “speak truth in our own hearts.”  If we don’t get it right in our own hearts, then we’ll never get it right with the Lord or with others. 

Jesus illustrated this point with the example of the tax collector and Pharisee.  The Pharisee’s self-righteous prayer of “I thank God that I’m not like other men,” fell short with pretense. Despite his shortcomings, the tax collector’s prayer for mercy was deemed worthy to be heard.

Upon first meeting him, Jesus discerned and praised Nathanael as being a man without pretense. Before He ever met Nathanael face-to-face, Jesus pointed out that he already knew him, because the poise of Nathanael ‘s soul was genuine and honest before God.

The one snared by pretense is vulnerable to cycles of betrayal. Their trust is trapped inwardly. This results in a fear that undermines the potential for trust by extending facades, which trigger the potential for the very thing they fear: betrayal. 

At Issue
The world is looking for reality.  It is looking for the reality of God operating in our midst.  To demonstrate the reality of God operating, we’ve got to be real.  As believers, what we extend to others, as the basis of relationship, not to speak of our “witness,” cannot have its main focus on us. It involves “listening hearts;” and has to be about God and what He is doing through us.

That’s a subtle thing.  In an upside-down world, where honor is too often defined by what is achieved, and trust by vanity and carnal superficialities, Jesus hit the issue head-on with the words:
Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4: 24-25

These words followed the parable of the sower. They were a key part of Jesus’ explanation about how the Kingdom of God operates.  If we are going to genuinely reflect His Kingdom, then we can’t afford the trap of being self-absorbed or driven by the insecurities that result in us masking the realities of who we are.  In the verses just preceding these words of Jesus, He said:  “there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed; and no secret that will not come to light.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Then He made this profound statement in verses 24 and 25 that on first glance, might seem to smack of “double-speak.” Yet, what Jesus was imparting here was an incredible gateway into the operational truths of God’s Kingdom. 
Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4: 24-25

The Gateway to Reality
Take heed what you hear.”  Proverbs tells us that “the simple believe every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.”  There’s a lot of pretense and phoniness abounding in this world.  Trust, like truth, is based on reality and must be spiritually discerned, as well as imparted. 

Again, it starts with speaking truth and tapping into a genuine grasp of reality in our own hearts.  That means, when we enter that place of prayer, we get real.  That’s foundational to receive what God intends for our lives.  The Lord is not going to be shocked or offended; He knows it all anyway. 

So, as we take heed what we hear by pushing beyond the facades, then we will grasp a measure of truth, which in turn will be measured back to us. 

Going back to the parable of the sower; we reap what we sow in terms of what we grasp and dwell on as “truth;” in other words, what we believe. Additionally, what we reap is impacted by the type of ground into which we sow. What that tells us is those who listen for, discern and grasp reality by “believing truth” are going to have an increase of reality and truth.

Yet, the one operating in pretense, will be losing ground and getting a bad crop; or having it choked out all together.  “For whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

God’s Kingdom rule is based on our role of establishing His authority in our sphere.  It’s also defined by the extent to which we functionally operate in community.  The measure with which we establish His authority will be measured back to us. 

Jesus described God’s Kingdom as operating like a grain of mustard seed, one of the smallest seeds in existence. Starting small with what you have may seem insignificant, but when it is genuine, it will increase and multiply beyond your expectations. 

The Process Counts
What we do along the way is significant.  It’s with the measure we use, that it will be measured back to us.  But it can’t be based on false assumptions or pretense.

Knowing the difference between what we might attempt to do for God; and what we allow Him to do through us is the pivot point to entering the place of genuinely operating by the standards of God’s Kingdom.  It’s where miracles and His power reside. 

Yet, the systems of the world around us are predicated on illusions that distort reality. During the fifties, a popular book titled “The Organization Man” redefined the entrepreneurial foundations found in Scripture.  Its message was that organizational conformity was the pathway to corporate success.  It implied that institutionalism was a higher standard.  Our modern, Western Christian mind-sets have been seduced into concluding that the measure defining “Kingdom living” is this standard of Western “success.”  I’m not against success; but it is not the standard, nor the reality the world is looking for.  The reality resides with us.

The Kingdom of God flourishes in fertile soil based on reality.  The seeds are our combined gifts, anointings and callings. To make a difference requires the demonstration of the Kingdom in our everyday lives being mixed and embedded into fertile soil.

The Point of Stumbling
There’s been a shift underway in the spirit realm.  This shift is realizing in a far greater emphasis given to what God is doing in the marketplace.  God’s Kingdom authority extends into the marketplaces and communities of the world. 

Yet, far too many with a genuine sense of this move of God in the marketplace have proceeded with an eagerness to “bring to birth” in their own strength and limited or skewed perception of this reality. A genuine grasp of what God is doing has been distorted by it being redefined according to warmed-over, outmoded models.  The result has been “force-fits” and premature scenarios and flameouts.

Before God restores His Kingdom, the Church needs to face the reality that we fall short when it comes to operating in community. The Western Church is one of the most fractionalized social movements on the face of the earth. We’ve become institutionalized and are defined and segmented by intellectual propositions rather than the standard outlined by the Apostle Paul:
We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us.”  2 Corinthians 4: 7

Far too many outsiders never see the reality of the Lord operating. Instead, the watered-down version with its lack of unity, power and community indict us, with the propositions we hold dear being viewed as hypocritical. We fight among ourselves. We quibble and strain doctrinal gnats, while failing to see the big picture. 

The Need and Focus
Before the marketplace movement comes into fullness, the Church must embrace its role as models and builders of community. To do that implies trust. For that trust to manifest, the mold for the old model needs to give way to a Body that is seen by the world as functioning in unity, without pretense. 

The issues of reality and trust that we need to grasp as individuals need also to be operating at the community-level. The Church stumbles with the limitations that we tout as progress, based on our twenty first century Western priorities, programs and press releases. We fail to recognize that in the majority of the world, freedom as we know it, is at risk.  We operate introspectively and with a myopia that is driven by the very factors that blind us and cause us to fall short on this issue of unity and community. 

The trappings of success constrain us. We fall short, because of pretense. Our souls are vexed with our cries to see His Kingdom come; yet the bottomless pit of our Western egos can only conceive of that happening through us. The competition and one-upsmanship convict us. 

The Lord has been preparing a new thing with this move in the marketplace.  With it will be a shift in focus that restores community. That means leaders who break the mold of the Western leadership mind-set defined by upward mobility, social standing and those you know. It calls for leaders who serve, without pretense. The type of leadership that Jesus modeled is sorely lacking. As such, His words apply equally at the community level, as they do to individuals.
Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4: 24-25

The book of James deals with issues in a pretty direct way. In the third chapter James describes a wisdom that comes from above that needs to be the tempering dynamic to overcome these points of stumbling. He notes that there comes an arrogance that contends against reality and truth when we entertain and are enticed by bitterness, envy, selfish ambition and what might be summed up as the need to prove ourselves. He goes on to explain that when jealousy and selfish ambition are allowed to reign, that it becomes the seedbed for disorder, confusion and “every evil work.”

Again, it’s not what we can do for God; it’s what we allow Him to do through us. 

The plumb line is humility. Trust is the cornerstone. To be seen as real, we’ve got to be trustworthy. For that to happen, there is a need to remove the pretense and become models of Kingdom trust. There’s a world yearning to see the reality of the Lord operating in our midst.
Everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.”  Mark 9: 49


This message was originally sent out to SIGN in September of 2007 and then as a chapter in Mr. Ruddick’s classic “The Heart of a King.” Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.

He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.

Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/

Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.

2007 Copyright Morris Ruddick — info@strategic-initiatives.org

Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org