Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Amy, at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31, is hosting In Other Words Tuesday today. Let's give it up for Amy, and go visit her blog and see what she and others had to say on this quote as well. The quote she chose follows:
“A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.” by A.W.Tozer
Is there a Pharisee lurking in you? I think there is in me - it's in my fleshly nature. This quote got me thinking about how to be less on one.
The Pharisees mentioned in the New Testament were legalistic and insensitive. They could get downright mean! To read about them in the Bible, click here. But come right back!
What exactly is a Pharisee?
The transliterated word for Pharisee is Pharisaios. www.bluetterbible.org had this to say about Pharisaios. "A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognised in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward observance of external rites and by outward forms of piety, and such as ceremonial washings, fastings, prayers, and alms giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a Messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herods and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country's cause, and possessed great influence with the common people. According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affection of piety in order to gain popularity."
When I read this quote, I was reminded of Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." ~ Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
I have no better In other Words..." than Jesus. He sums it up perfectly. There are so many lessons to be learned in this prayer and Christ's response to it.
We are not to be confident in our own righteousness.
"As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;" ~ Romans 3:10 (NIV)
It is by grace we are saved, not anything we do on our own.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" ~ Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

Millions of people in the world label themselves as Christians. That's great, but in a recent poll (see page 8), it was found that 57% of evangelical Churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life.

My mind cannot wrap my head around this figure! Surely the they misunderstood the question!It's all about Christ, belief in His grace, His death and His resurrection!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."~ John 3:16-17 (NIV)

The biblical Pharisees were caught up in religion and the law, and today we can find ourselves doing the same if we are not careful. We can beat ourselves up for having a drink at Red Lobster or debate whether eating shrimp makes you unclean all day long, but Christ has called us to not judge others by what they eat or drink. Or just about anything else.

Pause and read Romans 14 by clicking on the link. It's a quick read. 22 verses. Definite food for thought, pardon the pun.

My husband's ex-wife's religion does not permit her to eat certain foods. For her, these foods are unclean. I do not believe this way, but to her it is sin to eat pork. Imagine my horror when Kristyn informed me at the last minute she was coming by the house one night and I had pork chops on the table for supper! Her son, then 5, wanted to eat. He got a vegetarian meal that night, and Tabitha was appreciative that I didn't judge her and point out verses where Christ declared all food clean (she would have pointed out more where she felt He didn't). Our faith in Christ has saved us. We know our thoughts about food are a potential fire hazard, so we don't go there. I recently had the opportunity to spend the day with her. She helped me tremendously at the hospital with Nolan, and when we were down in the cafeteria, there the opportunity was again. Pork chops, hah hah! We were going to be eating together, so I ordered chicken strips. I didn't want to fan a flame. By the same token, I should admit that I'm some Pharisee-ical about not cussing, and she never does in my presence, although I know she peppers her language a little bit around others. She is always careful and apologizes to me.

I have other Pharrisee-ical quirks that I'm working on. I am forgiven, but not perfect.

The last half of the quote read...

"...a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.”

What is a spiritual man? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say one who is concerned about the matters of not doing anything to grieve the Holy Spirit. One who is saved by grace and knows it. That's my definition and I'm sticking to it.

This is more me. I'm not boasting. I'm just saying that it's something I can relate to more. I tend to beat myself up a hundred times faster than I do others. I learned a long time ago not to judge, and to use a large measure of forgiveness on others. Also, in recent months, I have prayed for God to help me see others as He sees them. Worthy of compassion, worthy of love, in the same boat as me...not perfect, but candidates for His free gift of grace.
"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." ~ Romans 6:14 (NIV)

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!" ~ Romans 6:15 (NIV)

David was a spirtual man. He was a lot about matters of the heart. I love reading the outpouring of his beautiful heart to God in the Psalms.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." ~ Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

Let Christ be the judge of your heart. Don't beat yourself up. When you've sinned, confess it and repent, trusting that your sin has been removed as far as the east is from the west, which, I'm told in a song, is from one scarred hand to the other. When others have sinned, follow God's guidelines for dealing with it if you must, but don't let the Pharisee in you come out.
L - leave the legalistic laws behind and exchange them for the unburdenness of grace
A - always have room for compassion in your heart for others
W - willingly submit yourself to God and be subject to Him - not the rules of this world
V - verify any questions you have with the Word of God
S - seek God first every day and ask Him to do all the judging that needs to be done
G - gratify yourself with the things of God and all the rest will fall into place
R - resist the Devil. He'll flee from you. There's a verse about that. James 4:7
A - admit the matters of your heart to God - He will help you sort them out and not beat yourself up
C - contemplate the old laws and see how they were fulfilled by Christ and His sacrifice for us
E - expect failure - no one is perfect. Our God is a God of second chances.


Denise said...

Another awesome post dear one, love you.

Power Up Love said...

Interesting to see, "Millions of people in the world label themselves as Christians. That's great, but in a recent poll, it was found that 57% of evangelical Churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life". I wonder how many Christians read their Bible. Might be similar numbers, Do you think? Maybe, We Christians should remember – Hebrews 11:6


Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

I'm with you. . . Jesus has the best "In Other Words" on this one.

And mind cannot wrap itself around that figure of self-proclaimed "Chrisians" either. Surely the they misunderstood the question!

...but we all have pharisaical tendencies. This IOW will give us all pause.

Happy Tuesday!

Ava Semerau said...

Thanks a ton for the history lesson on pharisees! I learned a lot. Thanks also for the guidelines (Law vs Grace), what a good reminder for us all.

AVA <><

Homesteader in Training said...

It is amazing how many people label themselves as Christians but have no idea what it means. How blinded they are. You have a great way of pointing things out in love my friend.
Hugs to you this morning.

Earthmommy said...

We all have those selfish, pharisee tendancies. I know that this is something I really need to work on. I tend to be the most this way with my husband. I often catch myself criticizing him for something that I tend to do too, like being impatient or moody. Thanks for the reminder. I can always count on your posts to hold up a mirror to me. The Lord uses you many times to open my eyes.

MiPa said...

Yes, I have a Pharisee hidden in me (at least I try to keep her hidden!). How difficult it is to trust God to take care of the judging and simply seek to follow Him. Your guidelines at the end are awesome. Printing them now (giving you credit on the copy). I want to save these and ponder them some more. Bless you for sharing.

Lynnette Kraft said...

Laurie Anna,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I especially appreciated the work you put into the "technical side" of being a pharisee. So unappealing...to bad I'm like that sometime!

Have a beautiful day.

Karen said...

Don't beat yourself up, let God be the judge of your heart. How true, we need to self-exam but not to the point we are abusive to our own self. It leaves a foothold for Satan we shouldn't open. Thanks

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

It's true that many people claim to be Christians and then will tell others there are many ways to Heaven...and I'm with you...how sad. I pray they have misunderstood the question and the Lord reveals His truth to them.

Happy Tuesday, Laurie Ann. Blessings to you today!

Patricia said...

I find myself more sad than puzzled by those "Christians" who seem to miss the true Gospel, the One Way. It is a desperate time we live in and our only hope for change is to not be pharisees in our dealings with others. We must cultivate a heart of love...perhaps in that way to win some to the Truth.

Denise said...

Come by my blog, have an award for you.

Tracy said...

Laurie Ann,
Powerful post, and in some ways humbling and convicting to me. (Boy, do I hate admitting that.) That quote by Tozer and your added insights have given me much to ponder. Thanks.