"'For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.'"
Like me, are you a recovering Pharisee? I first traveled to Israel in the early 2000s, during the second Intifada, when tourism had dwindled for fear of suicide bombers. On the plane from London to Tel Aviv, my wife, Janet, and I seemed to be the only Gentiles. I’ll never forget the ultra-orthodox man who stood up as we flew somewhere over Europe and pulled out the most colorful prayer shawl I had ever seen. Slowly, he wrapped two small leather boxes around his left arm and his forehead. Phylacteries in place and adorned with his embroidered shawl, he looked around to make sure others were watching before he faced Jerusalem and began to pray.
Right there in front of me was a living example of Jesus’ words in Matthew 23 where He pronounced seven woes on the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. The rest of my flight, I spent reading that passage and asking the Lord to show me my own spiritual blindness, my own hypocrisy, my own people pleasing, and to lead me to repent every day of my sins.
LORD, TEACH US ON-GOING REPENTANCE. MAY OUR PRIDE AND SELF-IMPORTANCE BE LOWERED AS YOU COME TO US AND GIVE US GRACE.