Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV)
A Warning Against Hypocrisy
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 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. 4 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. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Puritan Joseph Caryl wrote: “Faith is a sword that can slay four monsters of the sinful heart.” Discontentment, Envy, Pride, Contempt
Which monster is found in today’s text?
Is there some way you may need to apply your faith to one or more of these monsters?
Selfishness, pride, and the quest for ultimate power are some of the corruptions abundant in society today. The world is filled with today’s Pharisees who make pronouncements on how other people should act but then they don’t follow the same restrictions themselves. It has become acceptable for people to lie about people to get their way because the end justifies the means. Holy God, forgive us. How this must break Your heart. What matters to you is my heart and my character comes from my heart. You see me when nobody is looking. Help me to be authentic and my intentions pure. I pray that I seek to exalt You rather than myself. Lord, I seek to develop an authentic private life with You. Integrity means practicing what you preach and making sure that your words lift people up rather than weighing them down with guilt or other burdens. Let the integrity of my life stand out in this world so that it brings people to You. Amen