I was studying through Matthew 23, and found some disturbing warnings to those who are in government and religious leadership today. In Matthew, Jesus was talking to the Scribes (today, they would be those representing the law/government) and the Pharisees (today, this would be those who lead in the religious realm). If we think about it, any of us who walk consistently with the Lord are in some type of leadership – because our lives are being observed by others, and they are making conscious choices to either be, or not to be like us. This passage is full of warnings that each of us can apply to our lives. I summed it up in my notebook like this:
Woe to leaders who:
- don’t practice what they preach (vs. 3)
- don’t participate in or help with the things they demand or require others to do (vs. 4)
- do what they do only to be seen by others and recognized for it (vs. 5)
- love the places of honor, going 1st, and sitting in the best seats (6)
- demand to be called by their titles (vs. 7)
- exalt themselves with empty pride (vs. 12)
- set examples for others to wrongly follow (vs. 15)
- clean up on the outside – but on the inside are full of extortion, spoil, plunder, and grasping self-indulgence, and impurity (vs. 25 and 27)
- seem to be righteous and right standing, but in reality are full of pretense, lawlessness, and iniquity (vs. 28)
Woe to them! They will be humbled and brought low! (vs. 12) This is a promise statement. Not a “maybe” sentence. We can count on this being true. It may not be visible to everyone. It may not be immediate. It may not even come for several years. But God’s Word says it will happen. We can rest assured – it will happen. They (we – if this describes us) will be humbled and brought low!Friends, because of the times we are living in, I encourage you to pray over this passage about your own life, and then pray for those who lead you:
- Those in your local and state government
- our national government
- your pastors
- Sunday school teachers
- deacons, elders, committee leaders in your churches
- your local, state, and national denominational leaders.
Consequently, anyone observing our lives can see straight thorugh us, too.
Have you “cleaned the outside of the plate and cup, but within are full of extortion, and grasping self-indulgence”? (from Matt. 23:25). If so… Woe to us. We will be humbled and brought low!
But Praise God, He will do the cleaning if we will let Him! He already paid the price for our arrogance and indulgent, self-justifying ways. May we confess, repent, and start fresh – leading from a humble heart of service. If we really have a desire to “be great” – that’s the only way!
“He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:11)
“Whoever humbles himself (whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly) shall be raised to honor.” (Matt. 23:12)
It’s a harsh word, but one that needs to be spoken. Is God using it to speak to you? (He certainly is speaking to me!) Let’s pray for one another – that each of us would lead by humble service, genuine love, and clean insides ~ for God’s glory!
With love, prayer, and thankfulness for you, and those leadership positions God has given you~