There is difference between those who exhibit pompous, self-righteousness and people with an authentic, pure, devoted heart!
The first group sticks their nose in the air and with an air of superiority and tone of disdain in their voice address all of the unrighteous underlings around them. It even shows up in their prayers! A vivid scene in Luke 10 describes the prayers of one of them… “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector! I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get…’” That attitude makes God sick (and disgusted)!
The second group exhibit righteousness for a very different reason – they do it out of a passionate love for God and deep devotion. They are fully aware that they are “sinners, saved by grace”! Their righteousness and piety flow from a heart of gratitude and a passionate desire to please God.
This morning during “Coffee with the Lord” I read about this kind a person in Psalm 101… “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life… I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil… My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” (NIV)
Jesus declared, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God!” (Matthew 5.8) I want to be that kind of person (i.e. the second kind), don’t you?!