Chances are if you’re a Christian your desire is to be more like Christ.
Which is great.
But are you?
How would you know?
The survey revealed that 51 percent of North American Christians polled possess attitudes and actions that are more like the Pharisees than they are like Christ.
In other words, the attitudes of most Christians were described as self-righteous and hypocritical.
According to the study, only 14 percent of Christians surveyed reflected attitudes and actions that better resembled the attitudes and actions of Christ.
What surprised me (as well as study author David Kinnaman) is how my attitudes and actions still need work…I’m far too much like a Pharisee and not enough like Jesus. I was so bothered by it, I taught an entire series about it. And you can watch a conversation David Kinnaman and I had about the research here.
And what breaks my heart is that I think the Pharisee in many of us is killing the mission and effectiveness of the church.
So how do you know how much Pharisee resides within you?
In defense of the Pharisees (well, almost defense).
Before we jump to that, I understand that in many church circles to simply say the word “Pharisee” is to immediately conjure up an image of a villain.
Pharisee = bad.
And yet the Pharisees were to some extent well-meaning people. They studied the law and knew it as well as anyone.
Their downfall, among other things, centered on their self-justification and self-importance.
But there’s evidence that some Pharisees were sincerely seeking God. After all, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both Pharisees, arranged for Jesus’ burial. They were sympathetic to Christ and, from what we can tell, ultimately ended up following him.
Similarly, the mission of the early church was radically advanced by a converted Pharisee—Paul.
The irony, of course, is this: The people who purported to love God most ultimately killed him when he showed up.
This isn’t about Jews and Gentiles. It’s about religious people (like you and me) who in the name of God deny who God really is.
Denying God is exactly what we do when our attitudes justify ourselves more than they reflect the heart and love of Christ.
10 things Pharisees today say.
So what do today’s Pharisees say?