At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees. There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:1-7)
Jesus, once again, cites the Pharisees as those whom we should never emulate because of their hypocrisy. Why so much emphasis?
It was meant to remind us that the principles of the Pharisees are deeply ingrained in human nature—and that Christians should be always on their guard against them. Hypocrisy is a subtle leaven which the heart is always ready to receive! It is a leaven which once received into the heart, infects the whole character of a man’s Christianity.
Where is it’s root? That’s a simple answer. It’s the fear of man which produces hypocrisy. It’s living for the approval of others that makes a person bend, more and more to seek that approbation even to the point of bending their principles.
Therein lies the folly of fear.
Fear robs us of the blessings God wants to bestow upon us in the present moment – his peace, his love, his joy. No wonder the evil one, and those who follow him, want to keep us fearful! Evil doesn’t want us to experience the multitudes of blessings God so deeply desires to bestow upon us right now. So, we are fed a diet of fear – fear of others, fear of warnings of an ominous future, fear that if we let our guard down, we will be overcome. Think about that.
I know with all certainty that we have the ability to create a life of happiness and wholeness when we align our heart with the heart of God – a place where fear is obliterated. This does not mean life will be easy, it does not mean we will not experience pain and heartache; no, it means we can become virtuous and our heart can become filled with love. When we co-create with God, we serve others because it is about the other – our fellow brother or sister in need. We turn our life over to God, surrendering all to him, giving him control. Then what could we possible fear? God, the creator of the entire universe, most certainly has the power and ability to direct our life. That is the remedy which our Lord recommends. We must supplant the fear of man, by a higher and more powerful principle—the fear of God. We must look away from those who can only hurt the body—to Him who has all dominion over the soul.
Armed with this mighty principle, we never have to revert to being a coward. Seeing Him who is invisible—we shall find the lesser fear melting away before the greater, and the weaker fear disappearing before the stronger.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, your perfect love casts out fear. Give me a passion for your word and for your righteousness and a resolute hatred for sin. Help me to cast aside anything which would hinder full union with you.”
God knows us even more intimately than our mothers, because God knows our entire story. And even though God knows each of our sinful thoughts, words, and actions, God’s offer of love and mercy is unwavering. When we finally meet our Creator face-to-face, all of our struggles and successes will be accounted for. Our divine parent will sweep up the neglected, the disabled, the poor and the heartbroken, and will tell them: “I have been with you all along, I have loved you the whole time.” The deep pains of rejection that we have all felt in our own way and the injustices that the least of our brothers and sisters have experienced on Earth will all be recognized and revealed in the end when our Father looks at each of us with loving recognition.