Day 23: The Life of Integrity
Read Matthew 23
The Word of God has authority even if the people who teach it lack integrity (vv. 1-3). Our Lord’s standard is that we both do and teach His truth (5:17-20; 1 Thess. 2:10-12). Those who practice hypocrisy erode their character and do untold damage to others. The tragedy is that hypocrisy blinds people (vv. 16-19, 24, 26) so that they cannot see the Lord, themselves, or other people.
The God of the Pharisees is not the God of the Bible. He is a rigorous Law Giver who pays back those who pay Him. He is not “the God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10) or the loving Father who cares for His children (Ps. 103:1-14).
The Pharisees were blind to themselves. They were right, and everybody else was wrong. Because they majored on the externals, they never saw the rottenness in their hearts (vv. 25-28). Because they majored on the minor details, they ignored the great principles of the Word (v. 23).
Hypocrites never see the damage done to others: closing doors of blessing (v. 13); defiling those who touch them (v. 27); giving people a wrong sense of values (vv. 16-22). No wonder Jesus wept! These “woes” were born of anguish, not anger; and perhaps He is weeping over you and me.
Failing to reach your goals or to be all that you want to be is not hypocrisy. Pretending that you have “arrived” is hypocrisy. The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word for the mask worn by an actor. Hypocrites deliberately play a part so people will think they are more spiritual than they really are. The remedy for hypocrisy is honesty with yourself and with God (1 John 1:5-10).
1. O Lord help me to walk in integrity and to be a good example in words and in deeds.
2. Pray that you will always keep a teachable heart and be open to learn from others.
3. Pray that your life will demonstrate the truth of the word of God and that you will be a living epistle read by men. (2 Cor 3:1-3)
Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right, decide on what you think is right and stick to it. – George Eliot