Three words I never want to hear: “Woe to you.”
With these words You gave warning to the Pharisees and called them into account for their actions and deeds. Even now, it’s so easy to say “I would never be like them!” I do not want to follow in their footsteps, like judging others while projecting seeming innocence. So correct me if You see in me what You saw in them.
They had their priorities backwards, saying the gold was more valuable than the temple it was in, and the sacrifice more valuable than the altar it was offered on.
Help me make and keep my priorities straight. Help me understand the true value of things as they are in Your economy so I do not elevate the profane and dishonor the holy.
Many of the things the world places value on are not truly valuable. The world sees from a limited, short-term perspective and often places more significance on the created thing, than the Creator Himself.
Help me see things for their eternal value.
I love Your humor when You say they “strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Teach me to see the bigger picture and focus on the important things and not be legalistic over the smaller insignificant ones.
I can get so carried away with the urgent that sometimes I don’t make time for the important things. Show me how to spend my energy and time on what is significant.
You paint a striking picture when You describe a cup: clean on the outside but dirty on the inside; or a whitewashed tomb, clean on the outside but full of death on the inside. You see not only the outward appearance, but see into man’s heart to know him.
Let me be as concerned with being pure and clean on the inside as I am with being presentable on the outside. Help me be authentic and transparent; so my walk agrees with my talk. Let me put as much time into developing my character as my wardrobe.
I desire to be all You have created me to be. But it is so easy to follow the way of the world and look for the easy way – to make a big deal over what the world says is a big deal. I know that most of the world does not seek You to worship You or follow You.
Broad is the path that leads to destruction. Help me find that narrow way, and stay on that path: the one that brings joy and not woe. Amen
Matthew 23:13-39; Matthew 7:13