Don’t Be Good — Be Godly
“How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.” (Matthew 23:27-28 TEV)
Jesus doesn’t want you to act like a good person. In fact, he doesn’t even want you to be a good person, where you are aware of your own piety.
Jesus wants you to be a godly person whose behavior is connected to your intimacy with him and whose service flows from God through Jesus through you to others.
When we start thinking about what we should look like or whom we should impress with Christian behavior, we’ve changed the very nature of what we’re doing. We may do good things and provide noteworthy service, but that doesn’t mean it’s connected to Jesus and something recognized in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus had a major problem with the Pharisees because they focused on behavior and image and not on their relationship with the Father. So he was blunt and brutal in his criticism of them because they taught others to act like a believer instead of how to be a believer: “How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins” (Matthew 23:27-28 TEV).
This hypocrisy and idolatry leave us in a state of denial — perhaps the great condition of the modern Church — where we act as if we’re living the abundant life while secretly living in quiet desperation. We try to interact with a shadow of Jesus instead of meeting him face-to-face; but he will have none of that. He wants an intimate relationship, and he also has the end game in mind. He has to push us into the reality of the Kingdom so that we can begin learning how to be a citizen there, even as we follow him down the narrow path and through the narrow gate.
- In what ways have you focused more on being good than godly?
- Pray for your small group, church, or community of believers, that you would move toward godly transparency and away from inauthenticity.
This devotional © Copyright 2013 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.