“We have met the Pharisees, and they are… us. That’s because we are all slaves to self-righteousness and judgmentalism.”
It’s no use yelling “amen” at me; I already know; am repentant, and am woefully recovering. The recovery has been life long, and I simply trust that Our Lord will patiently work though the curriculum all the way, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Meanwhile, in our church we have been going through a teaching series titled “Inside-Out.” Using Lent as a backdrop, we want to address the Pharisaism/legalism/self-righteousness in our own lives, and make a way to invite/welcome us (as those prone to legalism/self righteousness) into relationship that inspires living from the inside out. We want this Lent season at Calvary to be an opportunity for reflection, pause and consider how to live ‘Inside Out’.
In this series we want to focus our teaching on the idea that Christian Spirituality is a genuine pursuit of God, and the embracing God as the One who pursues us. This dynamic relationship of pursuit and surrender is lived out first (birthed) in our inner life, where we think, where we believe, where we hold our values, and make our decisions about how to live. It is then expressed in our outer life in our relationships, in our careers, in our studies, in our buying, and in all of our every day moving and breathing.
In “The Prodigal God,” Timothy Keller says “the key difference between a Pharisee and a believer in Jesus is inner-heart motivation. Pharisees are being good but out of a fear-fuelled need to control God. They don’t really trust him or love him. To them God is an exacting boss, not a loving Father.”
In the desire to live inside out – – to live toward trusting God as our loving Father, here are the unadorned 12 Steps. Walk through these slowly, and if so piqued, learn more by picking up the 150 page book by John Fischer:
1. We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.
2. Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.
3. Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.
4. Have decided that we don’t want to get what we deserve after all, and we don’t want anyone else to either.
5. Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.
6. Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.
7. Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.
8. Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.
9. Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than ourselves.
10. Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.
11. Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else.