Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:1-12
Matthew 23 was part of my daily quiet time this morning. Nothing that I chose, but rather the next passage in the “read through the Bible in a year” program that I am committed to complete this year. It just so happens (coincidence, I think not) that yesterday’s sermon was on being humble so that God can hear our prayers.
Pride comes upon us many times so subtly that we don’t see it. So often we aren’t aware of it, blinded to it, until the consequences cause us pain. The Pharisees believed they were doing what God had commanded them to do – but in so doing, they became prideful. This is a classic case of “do as they say, but not as they do”. Jesus warns us not even to take on titles of rabbi, teacher, or father – as we are all equally brothers and sisters in Christ; He alone is our father and our teacher.
True humility comes when we understand who we are in relationship to God and Jesus. It is much better to humble ourselves than to have God humble us. The Pharisees became puffed up by their profession. They had an error in their thinking; believing that their profession and their actions made them more important than others.
God’s word tells us to consider others more important than ourselves.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8
So this morning, I am checking my pride at the feet of the cross of Jesus Christ. I acknowledge where pride has taken root within my heart. I agree with Him about who I am, and I remind myself that all that I am, and all that He’s allowed me to do, is only by His great grace. I have nothing to offer Him that is of any value – so I offer Him my life, all of it. All of my works are as filthy rags before Him.
Thank You Lord Jesus for redeeming my life from the pit of hell. Thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of God’s family, his child. Thank You Lord for Your great grace and mercy in my life and for not leaving me where I am. Change my heart Jesus. Forgive me all of my pride. Remove all seeds and weeds of pride that are growing within me. Show me how I should look to the interests of others. Amen.
Examine your heart. Lay aside all pride. Be encouraged – God will hear you. Press on.