"But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.”
The Pharisees were the pastors of Jesus' day. And like any other profession or calling there were "good" ones and "bad" ones. Many of the Pharisees that Jesus ran into were in it for all the wrong reasons. You see, also in Jesus' day, spiritual leaders were highly respected and financially secure. As Jesus said about them in Matthew 6:5, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites (Pharisees), for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others." (NIV).
Pharisees were supposed to be spiritual leaders who ministered to others from a personal relationship with God. Instead, they ministered to others from a selfish motivation of greed and fame. Those who were supposed to lead others to God were actually Godless.
They went to church, prayed, and gave to gain favor with God, not out of love for God. Before we judge the Pharisees too quickly we must ask ourselves some questions:
Why do I go to church?
Why and When do I pray?
Why do I sacrifice and give?
If the answers to these questions are not rooted in a love for God, then we are not far from the Pharisees. Now, no Christian can say they do all of the above mentioned from a sincere "love for God," but our hearts should be moving in that direction.
Today, measure where your heart is. Ask the above questions and then answer sincerely. Then ask God to purify your reasons from Godless religion to relational religion. A pure religion moved from pure motives - a genuine love for Jesus and others.
Lord Jesus, forgive me when I am motivated to appear religious for selfish reasons. I know that I am a work in progress, and I know that you are changing my heart from loving self to loving You and others sincerely. Amen