But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
The Pharisees lived to be noticed, and that sounds a lot like our society today. They did things specifically to draw attention to themselves, to get noticed, to cause others to admire them and to praise them. They make broad. They enlarge. They seek the chief, the highest, the best, the most, and they covet the recognition that goes along with that. They love those things that mark them, in their minds, as superior.
But when the goal is to be seen of men, we’ve missed the mark of what it means to follow and serve God. A prideful heart places self center stage. The Pharisees had traded out their idols of gold and raised themselves up to the level of gods. They wanted to be worshiped and adored, to receive the glory and the honor. But we tread on dangerous ground when we seek for ourselves what only truly belongs to God.
It may be for different reasons, but we can all fall into this trap at times. We live in such a “me first” world. It’s easier than ever to broadcast everything about ourselves to a wide audience, to proclaim every achievement, to be noticed, and not always for the right reasons. But what we do and who we are isn’t to be about us. We must decrease so Christ will increase. We are to live in such a way not so that we gain admiration and praise, but so that, through us, Christ is glorified and magnified and made known to others.
Sometimes the hardest step is to humble ourselves, to relinquish that craving for admiration, to let go of a desire for self-glorification and to instead let Christ be glorified. It’s not always easy to let go of self and exalt God instead. But it requires stamping down our pride and letting a humble spirit arise in us. Let’s not seek to be above, better than, or more than, but instead seek to serve and honor God with our lives. When we honor Him truly from our hearts, He will be the most visible. And He sees that heart in us and blesses us for seeking His glory above all.