Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, NASB1995
Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod (Mk. 8:15). After realizing that Jesus was not talking about bread, the disciples then thought the leaven of the Pharisees was their teaching (Mt. 16:12). Jesus explicitly explained to them in Luke’s gospel that the leaven of the Pharisees is their hypocrisy (Lk. 12:1).
Hypocrisy results from a person feigning to be what he is not based upon false assumptions. The Greek emphasis expands the meaning to include arrogance and hardness of heart, completely devoid of sincerity and genuineness. Hypocrisy is a weakening influence because it fractures integrity.
As Christian teachers, we are increasingly faced with the ideological hypocrisy of today’s culture. Nevertheless, our witness is a light shining in the darkness (Mt. 5:16). And the darkness cannot dim the light. It is only as the light fades that darkness takes hold. The enemy of our souls has no weapon that can directly prevail against our witness. But he can diminish our witness—dim the intensity of our light—if we embrace hypocrisy. Therefore, it is wise to beware of hypocrisy in all of its guises lest it leavens our own lives to diminish our effective witness.
God’s first act of creation was to create light (Gen. 1:3). The enemy of our souls has been trying to put out that light ever since. As long as we continue to stand as representatives of the Light of the world (John 9:5), He will drive out darkness before us.
Thank you, Father, that You created my eye to be the lamp of my body so that if my eye is clear, my whole body will be full of light (Matt. 6:22). I join with King David in praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way (Ps. 139:23-24). Amen.
Copyright David Bedell.
David is a retired member who lives in California.