The Pharisees were a sect during Jesus time that were zealous in their observance of the law including fasting, prayer, almsgiving and good works. There’s nothing wrong with the good works aforementioned, but the Pharisees were pretentious and thrived on looking holy in the eyes of others. Their works weren’t the result of a longing to keep the law or in hope of the soon coming Messiah. Instead of being the representatives of God and encouraging others to draw near to the Lord, were the representatives of the flesh.
If there was one thing the Pharisees were successful at, it was making themselves appear holy while their hearts were not following after the Lord
The Jews would wear phylacteries (prayer boxes) on their arms and Jesus corrected them because they made them larger to look more ‘spiritual’ in the eyes of others. They would also wear tassels on the hems of their garments to help them always keep in remembrance what the Lord had done for them. The Pharisees took something that should have been heartfelt and sacred and made it into a show.
Luke: 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Read on for a bit of instruction on How to be a Pharisee in 4 Easy Steps!
1. Pray to Yourself instead of to the Lord.
The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself and not to God. Pray Loud. Go big or go home. The word stood (histemi) in the Greek means to stand in the presence of others. The word with (pros) means to do something to the advantage of others. When you pray, make sure you are doing all that you can so that others will notice you. Make sure you are heard! Make sure you are seen! Your goal is for others to know you are a praying person (even if you’re not praying to God).
2. Be Self-Righteous.
When you talk to others, make sure that you use tons of “I” statements. I am holy. I am righteous. I go to church daily. I am on _______ committee at my church. I am the Pastor. I am the Pastor’s pet. I am the Pastor’s Wife. I am a Deacon. I am an honored member. Don’t worry about others and listening to what they have to say. In fact, you don’t even need to let them get a word in edgewise. Ministering to others isn’t important. Life is all about YOU!
3. Brag about your good works.
Whatever good you do, make sure it’s known to as many people as possible. Are you a tither? Get out your blow horn and blast it on social media. And don’t forget to share exactly how much you gave. Do you serve at the church? Slip it in as many conversations as possible.
4. Be condescending.
Make sure you put other people down any chance you get. If someone is a sinner, let them know you aren’t. If you know that theyhave committed a sin that you would never do, make sure they know how that particular sin is beneath you. Make sure they know that their sins are something only a rotgut sinner woul do. Tax collectors? Adulterers? Fornicators? Drug users? How could they do such a thing? You are holy and you should take every chance to tell people about your superior behavior.
By now, I’m sure you have gathered that today’s writing is just a wee bit sarcastic. We can clearly see from scripture that motives of the heart do matter. There’s a big difference between someone worshiping loudly from a pure heart and one who does the same thing just to be seen.
Let’s compare that to the publican as mentioned in the same Scripture. He stood far off and didn’t lift his eyes to heaven. He was broken and humble before God. He didn’t make himself the center of attention. His sinful condition bothered his soul. He smote his breast. He knew there was a need for mercy. Oh, Let us have the humble heart like that of the Publican!
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. 1 Timothy 1:5
How about you, my friend? Have you checked the motives and intents of your heart? It’s something we all must do from time to time! Let’s allow the Living Christ to dwell in our hearts so our lives will be a sweet smelling sacrifice in service to Him!
Make your Heart Lovely before Him!
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