HeartStrong Faith | My Pharisaical Cookie
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My Pharisaical Cookie

Dear friends,

I recently traveled to Hamburg with my husband for a conference he needed to attend. I spent most of my time working in the hotel or wandering around the city since my German is not quite good enough to follow most of the speakers. I did not miss out on all the spiritual insights that weekend, however, as the main speaker, Michael Reeves, hails from the UK. His pauses between, meant for the translator to relay Dr. Reeves’ words to the German audience, provided time for me to scribble down my notes and ponder.

As he went through Luke 18 and spoke about the Pharisee and tax collector, Dr. Reeves made this comment, “We forget how admirable this Pharisee is—he looks like a model elder.”

This struck me—because, well, it rings so true.

The Pharisees lived as model citizens, seeking to live beyond the letter of the law. The Pharisee essentially sought righteousness through “self-reliance and self-improvement”. How often do we do the same?

We live in an era of self-improvement and self-reliance. With social media reminding us of our deficiencies, we constantly feel the weight to act like we live envious lives.

And perhaps we do. But we might also have just added a pretty filter so people can’t see our pursual of perfection amid spousal fights, rebellious kids, failing health, loneliness, and perhaps one too many cookies.

As Dr. Reeves noted, “We are too easily impressed with ourselves,” and I would add, “with each other.”

In our effort to appear put together, have we inadvertently sought an Instagram-worthy life? A Pharisaical life? Instead of resting in Jesus, have we allowed rot to settle in place, to feed our insecurities and vanity? Do not forget who we are without Jesus.

We need hearts more like the tax collector,

‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

We need to be impressed with Jesus. We need to Rest in Jesus. Do not center your identity on the opinions of others, but on Jesus’ love for you. His love carries us more than our efforts,

shapes us more into perfection than societal expectations,

and satisfies us more than that cookie.

Despair that you’re broken, but delight in Christ,

and rest in Him.

About The Author

Caitlin is a student in her final year at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a passion for people, writing, and Christ. Caitlin moved to the Black Forest with her German husband to love and teach people about Jesus. Hopefully, some of the German charm will rub off on her writing as well.