Luke 12:1 Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
The religious leaders had a reputation of appearing to be spiritual on the outside and yet, were driven by the self-centered motivations of the heart. Jesus was concerned that his disciples might be influenced by these religious leaders. He warned that they were like yeast which penetrates the dough and has an effect on the entire batch. Trying to be like the Pharisees would not result in the type of authentic spiritual life that Jesus wanted for his disciples. There was to be no pretense in their lives. The ways in which they believed and the ways in which they acted and responded were to be the same. A true follower of God would never “act” religious, but would continually reflect Christ.
This will date me but I remember when WYSIWYG became a thing. Don’t know what that is? WYSIWYG — "What you see is what you get." It had to do with computers and when we moved beyond coding in certain stages and were able to do work that looked like the final result. It made things like designing web-pages much easier — but I digress. The point is that Jesus was calling out the Pharisees for the hypocritical ways in which they lived their lives. What you saw was NOT what you got. They put on a type of false spirituality in an effort to appear spiritual. This had become the practice of religion and Jesus came to break this down.
The ways in which the Pharisees lived their lives became a temptation to those who were following Christ. There are plenty who would consider themselves religious leaders who garner attention these days. With the rise of social media it’s easy to become “well-known” without ever really accomplishing that much. I believe that may be one of the temptations of our day. More people are becoming famous just for being able to get attention than for having really accomplished anything. This is true in the secular world and, I believe the that the temptation may be the same in the religious world. It’s easy enough to sound religious and write about good things. (I’m speaking to myself here today as well — may even be stepping on my own toes — ouch!) Jesus isn’t all that concerned about what we are able to portray to others — he’s concerned about the authenticity of our lives. Would someone be able to say “What you see is what you get” about you or me?
The breathing in and breathing out of our lives takes on a rhythm, one in which we are called to reflect Christ. When our eyes are focused on him, then we draw closer to Christ and the reflection becomes clear. Not only is the reflection clear but our participation with Christ becomes so great that when people see Christ on the outside, the experience Christ in an encounter with us. This is authenticity and this is “what you see is what you get.” Jesus knew the need of his followers was a deeper walk in which the yeast of the Pharisees would have no influence. I love to bake bread but using yeast past it’s expiration date will result in a failed batch of dough. Once yeast dies, it can no longer make dough rise. We must be wise and create intentional barriers to influences which may try to distract us from knowing Christ. When we truly know Christ our entire lives will be focused on him and WYSIWYG will be real and authentic in our lives.
Lord, please help me to seek you more and more each day. Amen.