The Pharisee Complex
Yesterday, I posted about God calling us to perfection. It surely is an impossible task for any human being. However, many Christians have perverted this call to perfection like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ time. Many people are more concerned about the outward appearance instead of the inward self. I have seen this in the more conservative circles. These tend to come in forms of KJV only and independent Baptist communities. Of course, this is just a generalization but this is where I have seen this problem in a communal form. These communities tend to measure the holiness of people by the movies they see or the clothes they where. R. C. Sproul speaks about this in his book The Holiness of God when he writes:
When we make dancing and movies the test of spirituality, we are guilty of substituting a cheap morality for a genuine one. We do these things to obscure the deeper issues of righteousness. Anyone can avoid dancing or going to movies. These require no great effort of moral courage. What is difficult is to control the tongue, to act with integrity, to reveal the fruit of the Spirit. -R. C. Sproul. The Holiness of God (Kindle Locations 1656-1658). Kindle Edition.
This is something that every person needs to struggle trhough. As Sproul points out it is easy to stay away from dancing or things others say are immoral. What is difficult is to live a life that is pleasing to God. Living life is much more than simply doing the right things it is about the way we think and act. When we get in the mindset of just doing the right things we lose the point that Jesus makes over and over in the Gospels when he speaks to the Pharisees. One such interaction is found in Matthew 23 when Jesus says:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” -Matt. 23: 25-26
We are not immune to this perversion. We are always drawn to standing out because the ones that stand out are interesting and different. What most people don’t want is change. Acting different doesn’t mean that I have changed. It simply means that I am acting differently. I can appear to be different for a while. That is no challenge. What is challenging is living that way. Living life contrary to what is contained in my soul is impossible. As Jesus points out it is what’s inside the cup that matters.
If you are described in this post as being like a Pharisee do not be discouraged. Instead, do what the Pharisees could not do. Repent and ask God for a heart transformation. If Jesus is our shepherd then we should be his sheep. And you do not go “baa baa” to become a sheep…You go “baa baa” because you are a sheep. God must change who we are then we must live like changed people.