Do you know what a Pharisee is or perhaps I should say "who" a Pharisee is?
A couple of weekends ago I was struggling. Oh, there are times in my faith when I struggle...I'm human, but this time around I felt a heavy weight of oppression.
Anyway, as I continually cried out to God to help me through it, I felt as if He was lovingly telling me that I was a Pharisee. Eeek! No way! There was no way that I could be identified with that term.
In Jesus' day, a Pharisee was a religious teacher of the Torah and law of Moses. Though they were well-versed and perhaps "called" into the ministry, they were fond of public accolades and enjoyed being above the rest in spiritual knowledge and rule keeping.
Actually, Jesus saved His most harsh words for these men and condemned them for being stuck in their religious piety and tradition, and blind to the actual workings of God.
So, how did this apply to me, I thought?
It was then that Jesus slowly began to reveal my heart; the attitudes I had harbored and the secret love of the limelight I so desired.
If I was being brutally honest with myself, I wanted to be known so that I could feel a sense of purpose and acceptance. I wasn't being totally honest with my motives of the "why" behind my teaching and ministry. And...I didn't love like I should. I was not patient and kind like the verses in 1 Corinthians 13 tell us to be. I became frustrated with people who moved slower, talked slower, didn't look like me, didn't live like me, etc. Sound kind of jerkish? Yeah...I suppose it was.
Ugh. The next few days God would continue to search my heart and reveal those things that I had neatly tucked away where I thought no-one would see.
Instead of loving Jesus with sweet abandon and no pre-existing ideals, I loved more the thought of loving Jesus for my own leverage. For being known as the smart girl. The one who knew a lot about a lot because God had given me a brain that enjoyed absorbing information, especially biblical knowledge, like a sponge.
Sigh. So, what was the course of action? What was God telling me to do? What was my heart saying I needed to do?
Love. Pretty simple, eh?
I began reading a book by Bob Goff called Everybody Always. Honestly, this book changed my way of thinking.
I appreciated his candidness of having a heart similar to mine, but I also loved reading about his decision to be all in; to just do the hard things; to love everybody always.
Along with the book, God and I had an encounter. The morning I totally broke, He gave me a vision. In this vision I was able to see all my hurts...rejections...the things that had so walled up around my heart not allowing room for me to love anyone else.
I saw my bitterness and how it was destroying me, but the most important thing I saw was Jesus. He was telling me to keep my eyes on Him and to not look at my surroundings. If my eyes were laser focused, then my desires, my intentions, my motives, my words, my actions, everything would closer represent and reflect Him and less of myself.
He was also showing me that I cannot control others--what they do, what they say, how they are. Oy. That was probably the hardest lesson of all.
That evening, Rick and I went to watch the season finale of The Chosen. Without giving it away, the very last scene was exactly what I saw in my vision. It was me there. I was the one He was having to save from myself.
Fast forward to today. I am healing. I am rejoicing in the miracle of revival that is taking place across the globe, in this country, but especially in me. I am loving the fact that I don't have to prove myself to anyone. Jesus knows. Jesus knows!
I hope that my brutal honesty somehow speaks to your heart. There are a lot of folks out there trying to be somebody, one-up somebody, be in control, simply because they are broken inside. I was broken, but not much anymore. Today I feel whole. Does that mean that I won't relapse at some point? I hope not, but I am human and do and will fail at times, yet if I can keep that laser focus, I'll stay upright and walking on water.