The Invitation - Day 20

Luke 20:45-47

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”.

“Beware of the teachers of the law.” Why does Jesus say this? It seems clear that they are full of themselves. This is common among religious gurus, company owners, team leaders, and employees of the month. Honestly, it is common among humans in general. Sure, we might swing back and forth between self-doubt and arrogance. But here lies a reasonably predictable pitfall.

Our successes can generate a sense of entitlement and a desire for special treatment. Feeling good about ourselves can morph into a desire for attention and undue affirmation. And, if we are not careful, we begin to see people as a means to our ends. Conceit usually leads us to devalue others. Sometimes, we turn toward dehumanizing anyone who threatens our success or public image.

Walking with Jesus is the antidote to these kinds of behaviors and sentiments. He is the one who shows us how to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), go last in line, even behind those less deserving (Mark 10:31), and lay our lives down for others (John 15:13). In Matthew 5:5, Jesus says, “Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.” This humility frees Jesus to ask forgiveness for His torturers while He hangs dying on a cross.

At this point, you may be thinking, “None of this applies to me. My inner voice leans towards self-loathing rather than arrogance.” But thinking too lowly of oneself bears nearly the same fruit as thinking too highly. In both cases, we are consumed with ourselves.

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, “… if you meet a humble man… He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.” 

The world of the prideful and the self-disgusted grows smaller and smaller as we center our vision more directly on ourselves. Meanwhile, the eyes of the humble are open to see the awe and wonder of a world filled with possibilities, not of our own making. Humility gives us the bandwidth to value and respect others and the energy to do good. Self-concern spends wasteful time consumed with image preservation, minor slights, and the affirmation of strangers.

Christ calls us to a place of security and confidence devoid of grasping self-interest. This is freedom. And as Jesus says, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8:36).
  1. How would you describe your inner dialogue regarding your self-image? What do you think Jesus would say to you about it?
  2. What is something you wish you had more time for? What can you do about that?
  3. Who have you thought lowly of that Jesus might ask you to elevate? Why do you think you have felt this way?

By Pastor Dave Ferguson

Daily Study Podcast

Download a PDF Version of our Series Guide

The Abide Daily Podcast

Thank You for Supporting the Ministry of Crosswalk

Posted in

1 Comment

Leona Fujimoto - March 2nd, 2024 at 12:23am

I LOVE listening to the Daily Podcast.

I have usually already read the study guide but I like to listen when doing things around the house.

Sometimes I have great difficulty listening and concentrating because of the music in the background. It could be because I am getting older and my hearing has declined but I would much rather hear the word of God than even the most beautiful melody.

Thank you for creating multiple ways to hear and read the word of God.