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Session 23

Does what you say match what you do?

Read: Matthew 23

It's a rule: No phones allowed at dinner.

Then, while waiting for the food, you hear that familiar "ding." So you check that text message. (It might be important, right?) But your teenager is quick to call you out, saying, "Hey! No phones allowed!"  

This is an embarrassing reminder of the need to practice what we preach because our kids are watching. We’re setting an example for them. As Christians, it's even more important to practice what we preach, because non-believers and other believers are watching.

In Matthew 23:1-7, Jesus warns the crowds and His disciples to obey the Pharisees. They were to submit to the Pharisees' authority but not follow their hypocritical example. The Pharisees' motives were self-serving. They put heavy burdens and extra rules on themselves so they look holy and others would admire them. There was no love in their hearts, and they didn't lift a finger to help those who were struggling.

If we aren’t careful, we can fall into the same trap of trying to follow the rules at the expense of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).  If we profess our belief but don't possess Jesus in our hearts, we become hypocrites. Jesus also warns us that if we focus on religion instead of relationship, we may lead others astray.

When we have a relationship with Jesus, He will be reflected in our words and our actions — no matter where we are or what trials we face — because He will be in our hearts.

Reflect:

  • How do your actions reflect the love of Jesus? In what ways are your actions more like those of the Pharisees, critical and self-serving?
  • How are you growing in your relationship with Jesus so He can change your heart, not just your behavior? 

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