A Life of Authenticity

A Life of Authenticity

By Velma J. Sanders

One must wonder how the disciples must have felt as they sat at the dinner and witnessed the Pharisees aversion to Jesus because He had not observed their ceremonial laws. And how they must have felt as Jesus without hesitation exposed their hypocrisy saying, “You Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.” (Luke 12:1-3) I do not imagine that the disciples were full of glee. It is more imaginable that they were somewhat nervous, fearful or maybe confused as they witnessed the scene. Whatever they felt, they were probably relieved when it was time to leave this most unconventional and unhospitable dinner. However, the school of discipleship continues and Jesus follows up on what they had just experienced at the Pharisee’s house – an object lesson of sorts – out of the lab, as it were, and now time for lecture. But, instead of first addressing the crowd that had gathered outside while they were inside, Jesus first says to His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” A warning – Beware! Be on guard! Be careful! We notice that Jesus did not say, “Beware of the Pharisees.” No, He says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” Leaven: A small ingredient that spreads without notice and secretly throughout until it saturates the whole. It permeates dough and causes the entire mass to rise. Yes, the Pharisees were hypocrites (actors and pretenders) and Jesus had exposed their hypocritical ways. Telling His disciples to not be deceived by them; their words, actions or deeds. But even closer to home, Jesus warns the disciples to not become a hypocrite like a Pharisee. He warns them because, although it is not usually mentioned, it is possible for even followers of Christ to have a measure of leaven within. Galatians 5:9 says, “Beware a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” As Jesus begins this lengthy discourse of instruction, He first tells His disciples to be real; be authentic; be sincere in your faith and in your dealings with God and with man. Although there may be seasons of failures and weaknesses, stumblings and falls, we must strive by the help of the Spirit of God to live a life of authenticity. We must be on guard lest our Christian duties and our alms end up being a performance for an audience or a mere desire to please people more than God. We must beware lest we are guilty of living a double lifestyle or of having hidden and secret sins that we pet and cherish. Things eventually come to light, even if it is in the final judgment. But often it happens right here in this life; one way or another. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23, 24)

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