One of the greatest dangers in the Christian life is a split personality. Just today I found out a minister who I have learned a lot from has been seeing prostitutes and beating his wife. That’s a split personality – who he is in the pulpit is not who he is in private. People called Christians but are secret addicts to all sorts of substances and habits are dangerous. People whose lifestyle in public are not their private lifestyle are dangerous. It is dangerous to be one of these people, it is dangerous to know these people.
The main reason people have a split personality is that they love impressing people – that is what means the most to them. They have a lifestyle in church and a lifestyle outside of church.
It is living like what Jesus called a hypocrite – a total deceptive lifestyle. You know one of the hardest things for a doctor to do is make an accurate diagnosis of a disease or sickness – when they have done that they have won half the battle because they know what they are dealing with. As a pastor I have the same problem when people are deceptive and hypocritical: I cannot help because they are hiding the problem from me.
God expects that as His children, with His life inside us, that we live a clean life. Not a life of fornication, adultery and uncleanness (have a read of Ephesians 5.3, see what I am talking about).
Now the best (or worst?) example of this kind of split personality in the Bible was probably Samson. He had just drastic split behaviour that every one of us can learn from him.
Firstly, he was a man who was unevenly yoked. That is a massive issue. Part of Samson was separated to God and holy – you could see that by the fact he never cut his hair as part of his Nazarite vows. But there was another part that was yoked to the world and the things of the world. That is the first sign and the starting point of a split personality – part of you wants to go with God, and part of you wants the things of the world. You have to accept that you cannot ever have both, and you need to choose. A failure to choose and you fall flat on your face and end up with nothing.
Samson was a Nazarite, someone who lived differently from others because of his devotion to God. He didn’t drink, he didn’t cut his hair, he spoke differently, he lived differently. It was a sign that he was devoted to God. Everyone could see that Samson was devoted to God.
At the same time, in secret, he was evil. He was tied to the devil and the world! These two things were going on in his life at once.
This man would not cut his hair, was a “charismatic Christian”, had a public sign that he was a man of God, but he wanted a wife that was an unbeliever (Judges 14.1-3). A man anointed by God but a man who wanted worldly pleasure too!
There are many Christians doing this today, many Samsons in the church, and many of them in ministry! There are many pastors with split personalities and many people in the church with split personalities. There is their church personality – sweet, and kind, and holy, and praisy, and prophetic, and anointed – holier than thou! Then there is their not around the church personality – carnal, selfish, hungry for the things of the world.
Some of you reading this blog – I am speaking directly to you. You are in the church, you are born again, you are ministering. But you are on the other side of things playing with the world and chasing the world and lusting for the things in the world. Your best friends are unbelievers and the girls you chase are unbelievers – you are Samson.
You are not in a council-run youth group. You are not in a dead Presbyterian church. You are in a Spirit-filled, tongue talking, on fire youth group in a living church, you have heard the gospel, you have even been to Bible College. You hear life changing sermons over and over and over and over, yet your best friends are unbelievers. You are Samson, and you have a problem.
Today, admit you have a problem. Speak to your pastor, find some Christian friends to pray with you, start to change things, start to spend more private time with the Lord and in the Word. Today, we start dealing with this, so that you will be single-minded, not double-minded.
Next week, I will continue down this theme, on how this condition of a split personality affects your thinking and how to get free. Watch this space!