I read two days ago Jesus’ admonition to his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Lk 12.1). Some thoughts:
Leaven: It takes a while for leaven to work through the dough. When my wife makes bread, it can take several hours for the yeast to double the size of the loaf. Yeast is a live micro-organism. It spreads and puffs up. And so it is in my life, I have seen that over time of not being pro-active in killing pride, lust, greed, impatience, etc in my life this invisible microorgamism spreads throughout my life to infect several areas. My greed migrates into areas of impatience. I look at my paycheck and find out how much my co-worker made and I am not satisfied. I dwell on this and become impatient with people when they do not want to buy anything. Then I get home and am impatient with my wife when she hasn’t done something I expected her to do – although I never told her I would like to have said thing done.
As CS Lewis said, pride is the fountainhead of all sin. Why am I greedy? Because I have exalted myself to a position that I do not deserve. I have looked at my life and so focused my energies on my immediate need that I have abandoned that which makes me the happiest and most satisfied – that is, talking about and spreading the joy of knowing Christ. My speech is set on talking about how I deserve something or that I don’t deserve some adversity.
How slowly this pride of life spreads. It has happened over years. Truly, the seed of it was present in my life before Christ saved me. It spread through my college years. Instead of taking pride in my school work, I took pride in the fact that I led a campus ministry. Then I took pride in the fact that I knew an answer to a theological conundrum that other people did not. I entered seminary and the pride increased and spread as I increased in learning… but not in humility – not in the fear of the Lord. Good answers do not mean you know what you say. To be gripped by God’s sovereignty is to know. There is a great difference between answers of someone who has tasted the goodness and beauty and glory of God, and the one who merely vomits what he has heard. True knowledge is not repeating, it is getting low and receiving.
Hypocrisy: Our Savior made reference to the Pharisees. They had the answers that they had memorized, but they did not receive from the mouth of God. They could repeat the Torah, but they could not believe. My wife said to me two nights ago that when I do not love others, even when they are unloveable, the Gospel is at stake. If I truly believe the Creator humbled himself and blessed instead of reviling in return, then I cannot treat my enemy in the same way he speaks to me. If I do not love my enemy, then I prove that I have not first understood the Gospel.
It is dangerous to know answers. It is dangerous to go to school and find out how to answer questions that go to the core of who we are. To study the hypo-static union, the Trinity, total depravity, etc without continually challenging yourself to be affected by what you are learning can be dtrimental to your soul.
Jesus knew these tendencies lie in the heart of every man. Although the disciples had been with Jesus, they were not exempt from wearing masks of religion. Thus the frightful word, “Beware.”