The Pharisee In Me

John Tilton


Matthew 23:1-12 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacterieswide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.


I’ve often read what Jesus said to the Pharisees as unattached in terms of their inability to understand and walk according to the true letter of God’s law and serving Him as leaders of that time. Their expectations of people, their prominence in position and stature, their privilege in the synagogues, how they are treated and required respected was a great teaching and example of hypocrisy in leadership. Jesus goes on to make it very clear as to the failure of their leadership in exampling God’s will and leading the people as spiritual leaders.


Yet, God impressed upon me this morning that I have many moments of being a Pharisee where these same principles of self and pride slip and creep into my thinking, desires and even my expectations and leadership, where I sometimes unknowingly fall into the same Pharisaic mentality. I know God’s word and the life I am to lead or the call I am supposed to heed. Yet, I often find myself desiring and sometimes pursuing the same things that the Pharisees pursued, usually stemming from the “self” in me and my pride, or desire for me to be acknowledged and seen rather then Christ in and through me. We sometimes try to take Christ’s position for ourselves when we are granted the opportunity and authority to steward what is made available to us in leadership and responsibility. I know that this is wrong and not what God meant in His call, following Him and leadership.


Dear Lord, as your word reminds me, guide me that I not fall into the same Pharisaic mentality and tendencies, and that I not seek to exalt myself in the carnality of my ways. May I be cognizant of these things to walk more in humility and servanthood to you and bringing you, what you did on the cross for me, your word and who you are in and through me as the point of prominence.

Devotions for May 06

2 Samuel 11,12
Psalms 51
Matthew 23

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