Practice what You Preach
Father, this is my greatest desire: that I may be found as a friend of God.
Read 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 phylacteries wide 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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you consistently practicing what you preach?
At times, Jesus is extraordinarily provocative. Preaching in a culture where religious leaders are powerful and important, he is never afraid to be publicly critical of the establishment. When we find him here in the later stages of his own ministry, he is every inch the revolutionary leader, his sermons evocative of a political rally.Jesus’ main critique of the Pharisees here isn’t over lapses of morality; it’s about their overriding hypocrisy. They preach one thing but practice another. Notice that Jesus doesn’t therefore tell the crowds to ignore their teachers; he isn’t calling for religious anarchy. Far from it: they “sit in Moses’ seat,” he says (2), and should be heard. Rather, he is warning against the hypocrisy the Pharisees displayed. Jesus finds hypocrisy offensive, and so do we. Many of us lack grace for modern religious leaders exposed for similar crimes. The antidote to hypocrisy is humility. In verse 11, Jesus repeats the “first-shall-be-last” theme that permeates his teachings. Christian maturity isn’t about looking increasingly righteous, but growing in submissiveness. Jesus opposed the Pharisees, as they’d only mastered the former.
Look for an opportunity today to put the needs and priorities of someone else before your own.
Precious Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit until I am so full of You that my life reflects Jesus.
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