Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reflections: Am I a Pharisee?

Since childhood, I've always been an approval orientated person. I am a people-pleaser and want to make everyone happy. I also, at times, want everyone to know that I am doing all the things and making people happy. Not an easy thing to admit- but I am sure all humans are all like that to some degree, right? (Some are just worse than others, lol.)

In this week's passage Jesus hits me with another lesson on humility and accountability.  

He's still being questioned by the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders. So Jesus turns his attention away from them and begins talking to the disciples and others who had been listening to the Pharisees. "Hey- even though these dudes have fancy official religious titles - listen to what they say but don't do what they do," he says. (Or something similar.)

Read Matthew 23: 1-12

Jesus didn't want the people to follow these leaders in ways that did not lead to God.  Jesus said the Pharisees explained God's laws in a ways that were too hard to follow. He said the Pharisees were good at teaching but not good at practicing what they were preaching. 

He knew the Pharisees were listening so he said "The leaders do things so everyone will see them. They want to stand out in the crowd, They want to look like they are more religious than everyone else."

To me,  Jesus is using the Pharisees as an example and a reminder for people to check themselves before they wreck themselves.  He is encouraging the disciples (and us) to listen to the law and follow God - but not be like the Pharisees and do it for status, recognition, or the approval of others. 

Here is what I am thinking about this week:
What am I doing just so others will see me do it? 
What am I doing to make myself stand out in the crowd?
What am I doing for the approval of others that's not leading to God?
Where in my life am I not practicing what I preach? 

"All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted, " said Jesus. 

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