READING: Matthew 23, Luke 20-21
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I wonder if I’m ever like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. I know I’m not opposed to Jesus like they were. They wanted Him out of the way; I want Him in my life. On the other hand, I do wonder if Jesus might ever say these words about me:
Matt. 23:3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.
Matt. 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
God knows my heart inside and out. He knows when I don’t live what I teach. I pray that never happens, but God knows I don’t always live up to His mandates. I trust my rebellion is not “hypocrisy and lawlessness,” but I don’t know how to avoid those words fully if I blatantly reject the Word of God I teach. Hence, I’m challenged today to ask some hard questions, like:
- Do I always faithfully read the Word I tell others to read?
- Do I always pray like I tell others to pray?
- Do I always tell the gospel story like I challenge others to do?
- Do I make disciples like I’ve taught others?
- Do I give sacrificially like I call others to do?
- Do I love my wife as Christ loves the church — the way I teach others to love their wife?
- Do I submit to God and resist the devil the same way I tell others to do?
- Do I always reflect Christ as I expect others to do?
- Do I fight against my hypocrisy as I challenge others to do against their hypocrisy?
My goal is not to be legalistic; instead, it’s just to be honest. I could, though, go on and on with the questions. As a preacher of the gospel, I would never want Jesus to say to my hearers, “Do whatever he tells you, but don’t do what he does.” I want to be the same person on the inside and the outside.
ACTION STEPS: Take some time to answer the above questions (and any other questions you might be led to ask).
PRAYER: “God, change me in such a way that if others follow what I say and do, they will be following Christ.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Mark 13