I can feel the intensity when Jesus (Mt 23:23-27) rebukes the Pharisees and calls them hypocrites for having only an outward excellence that did not originate from a transformed inner being. “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful…but within are full of uncleanness.” They had rules galore to excellentize (new word!) their external behavior. But rules and all the effort I can muster can’t go inside me to where consistency begins and hypocrisy is ended.
Judith Hougen in her book Transformed into Fire describes our experience when we, like the Pharisees, focus on excellent behavior; “…you are dedicated to following religious codes but, for all your performance, have only tasted the steel rigidity of rules, not the abundance that Jesus promised.”
Jesus promised a new way of living. We have been united with Jesus so that “we…might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). That is why he continually invites us to stop leading ourselves (Luke 9:23 – “deny yourself”) and follow Him into an excellent life. Into a transformed life where we stop tasting the rigidity of rules but taste the freedom of the very presence of God.
Question: What is a next step you can take to experience the excellence of the “newness of life” that is yours? Leave a comment so we can be in this together.
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