Listen to today’s devo!

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites.” (Mark 7:6)

I wonder if there is a more provocative word than hypocrite? It’s a word that conjures up images of corrupt leaders and religious finger pointers. I’ve never been called a hypocrite, even if I’ve felt like one a time or two. I can only imagine the look on people’s faces when Jesus lowered the boom that day and leveled the charge of “hypocrite” on the Pharisees and religious teachers.

Interestingly, hypocrite is originally a Greek theatrical term that means an actor or stage player. Jesus’ audience that day would have known hypocrites were actors who wore large masks to represent the character they were playing. Jesus called the Pharisees pretenders whose devotion to their traditions and ceremonies was a vain effort to hide sinful hearts.

Notice Jesus never called the traditions bad; however, man-made traditions can become substitutes for knowing and loving God. Traditions can help us treasure God and tell the story of his great love. But when those traditions become a source of pride, a measure of the faults of others, or a mask for our sin, a gap begins to grow between our hearts and God.

The remedy to close the gap is simple. James wrote, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). We must risk coming out from behind the mask and discover the transforming power of grace.

Make the first move to close any gaps between you and God.

Cheryl McHenry has been a Wesleyan minister’s wife for over twenty years in South Dakota and Wyoming. She currently resides in Indiana and enjoys walking with her husband.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.