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Do not be a Pharisee…

In Luke 11:23, Jesus teaches us that the people who are not with Him are against Him. This is a very humbling proclamation to understand in our daily Christian walk. Often times, we all have a habit of not fully practicing what we preach. It is within our sin nature, however, this is not a reason to justify our actions. Jesus also teaches us that the people who hear the Word of God and practice it are truly blessed (Luke 11:28). A perfect example of what not to do is to look into the lives of the Pharisees. Time after time, Jesus had to rebuke them because they held on to manmade traditions instead of obeying God’s Law. They were experts of religious law but they could not practice the standards that they placed on others.

It is written, “ Now after Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him. He went in [the Pharisee’s home] and reclined at the table [without ceremonially washing His hands]. 38 The Pharisee noticed this and was surprised that Jesus did not first ceremonially wash before the meal. 39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate [as required by tradition]; but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish ones [acting without reflection or intelligence]! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give that which is within as charity [that is, acts of mercy and compassion, not as a public display, but as an expression of your faithfulness to God], and then indeed all things are clean for you,” (Luke 11:38-20, AMP).

Jesus continues to rebuke the Pharisees in Luke 11:38-52, however, the rest of the rebuke was founded on one simple truth. Notice how the Pharisee was quick to point out something that Jesus was doing that was not complying with their traditions? They spent so much time making their surroundings look good instead of focusing on what truly mattered, their insides (their mind and their spirit). It is like a girl with a horrible personality putting on makeup to look good in the outside while her insides are filled with filth. Jesus was identifying that it is just as important, if not more important, to have a clean inside (mind and spirit) than a clean outside. He was basically telling the Pharisees to eat their makeup so their insides could be pretty. I know this may sound funny but it is the easiest picture I can share with everyone today.

When we lack practicing the standards that we place on others we are not only failing ourselves but God. We make a mockery of Him and the sacrifice of His Son that was sent for us all. At the end of the day, it does not matter how good you look in front of people. When you are in the judgment seat of Christ, what will your insides show? Were you a disciple of Jesus Christ, meaning that you were with Him or will it be known that you were against Him? How we live out our faith will always outweigh how we looked in front of others. You see, the Pharisees should have known better, similar to how the current church age should. They studied The Law; they went to church, and their communities identified them as God’s people. We are no different than they were today. They helped others to say that they did. They gave their money to the church. They loved being the center of attention. They place strict rules on the people around them but could not obey the simplest one (to follow God’s Word). Due to these things, they were bearing a false witness. They turned more people away from God because they could not practice what they preached. However, not only did the people know this fact, but most importantly, God did as well. Ultimately, they were doing Satan’s work for him.

This brings me to the key to actually being able to live out our faith (practicing what we preach). The key is having a Christ-like humility. When we can humble ourselves before the cross, our brokenness can be put back together in how Christ sees fit to do it. It allows us to be moldable and it allows us to know that we are undeserving of our salvation and the grace we have. This basic understanding will allow us to deal with our struggles (both internal and external). When we are humble, we do not have to save face before others because we know the Spirit that lives in us will always know the truth behind our motives. So please, let us all stop polishing our outsides when we should be refining what is inside of us. This lesson Jesus was teaching is as true then as it is now. If we cannot practice what Jesus has taught us then we are doomed to follow their mistakes. So please, remember to not be a Pharisee!

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