I’ve been reading through the Book of Luke as part of my daily Bible Reading Plan and I’m struck with how often Jesus confronted the Pharisees about their religious piousness, critical spirits, and frankly, their hypocrisy. It’s almost as if Jesus already knows that most of them aren’t going to get his message and are hell-bent on continuing their gross mismanagement of the Scriptures and their errant leadership. Pharisees don’t seem to have much hope and Jesus seems to have very little tolerance for their pious ways.
While reading about these encounters I’m convicted about two things: 1) I never want to be lumped in with the Pharisees, and 2) What can I learn from Jesus about how to deal with those who come across pharisaical? While considering this in respect to elevating my personal commitment and devotion to Jesus Christ, I’m convinced it is profoundly critical that religiosity never replaces relationship with the Lord. I know in my own life, the tendency to become critical, especially in a spiritual context, is caused by inconsistency or a lack of focused, submitted, relationship with Christ and allowing myself to get caught up in rote religious activity. It’s really the same for all of us. If we’re not careful the “pharisee” in all of us can soon take over and we miss entirely what it means to truly accept, follow, and serve the Lord. As we see, Jesus doesn’t put up with Pharisees. The only solution is, as Paul says, to consider “Everything else as worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ!” Phil. 3:8.
My prayer today, and I hope your’s as well: “Jesus, may I never become pharisaical, but may I always be teachable, loving, and devoted to you.”