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Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
Luke 20:45-47 (NLT): “Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, ‘Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.’”
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
As we read the Gospels, it is easy to stand in judgment of the religious leaders in the first century. They were hypocrites, and Jesus called them out for it.
But here’s an inconvenient truth: it is easy to see hypocrisy in others, but it’s not so easy to see it in ourselves.
In Luke 20:45-47, look carefully at how Jesus described the phony religious leaders. Observe how their actions expose their hearts.
- “they like to parade around in flowing robes”
- “they… love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces.”
- “they love the seats of honor in the synagogues”
- “they love … the head table at banquets.”
- “Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public.”
By highlighting their actions, He identified their heart attitudes. Sure, the religious leaders were engaged in ‘holy’ duties, but their hearts revealed that they weren’t doing it for the Lord – they were doing it for themselves.
Hypocrisy is appearing to be one thing while actually being something else. When we try to appear good, and righteous, and holy to others and yet have heart attitudes that are displeasing to God, we are hypocrites. When we seem to be doing something for the Lord but are actually do it to bring praise upon ourselves, we are hypocrites.
So, what’s the answer? I believe there are a few action points we need to take:
- Confess and repent (turn from) these heart attitudes. Feel the weight of these sinful heart attitudes, acknowledge them before the Lord, and work to get rid of them.
- Replace sinful heart attitudes with holy heart attitudes. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you get rid of something bad, you had better replace it with something good very soon, or it will simply come back. So, spend time in your Bible. Consider memorizing Scripture and meditating on Bible-approved heart attitudes that you need to develop. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to do this work in you.
- Enlist a prayer partner or accountability partner. You may find great help in a fellow Jesus-follower who will pray for you and point out areas of concern.
Essentially, this is a life-long process that will never be fully completed this side of Heaven. The important thing is that we are becoming more like Jesus and less like the world as the months and years pass.
Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.