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6 Warning Signs You Might Be an Accidental Pharisee


Will we keep our eyes glued on Jesus, or will we turn our focus onto those who lag behind?

The Pharisees’ sad transition from God’s most zealous defenders to Jesus’ archenemies is important for every Christian to understand.

As long as our only image of a Pharisee is that of a spiritual loser and perennial enemy of Jesus, we’ll never recognize the clear and present danger in our own life.

I’ve found that becoming a modern-day, accidental Pharisee is a lot like eating at Denny’s.

No one wants to go there. We just end up there.

The journey usually starts out innocently enough.

It begins with a desire to be at the front of the “following Jesus” line. We step out in faith, make some big changes, clean up areas of sin and compromise and begin to pursue new spiritual disciplines.

So far, so good.

But as we press forward, it’s hard not to notice those who lag behind. And it’s at this point we have an important decision to make: Will we keep our eyes glued on Jesus, or will we turn our focus onto those who lag behind?

Don’t look down!

I remember once meeting with a group of men who were passionate about their walk with God. Somehow our conversation turned toward those in the church who were not so passionate.

Next thing I knew, they were ripping on the way everyone else raised their children, spent their money, read their Bible and set their priorities.

Now these were quality men.

They were doing far better than most raising their kids, spending their money, reading their Bible and setting priorities.

Don’t Miss

The problem wasn’t that they noticed the difference. The problem was what they did with the information. They used it to justify looking down on everyone else.

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Larry Osborne

Larry Osborne

Larry Osborne is a senior pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California. With 20 weekly services on five campuses, North Coast is known for both its innovation and its small back door. You can learn more about the principles he shared here in his upcoming book, Sticky Church (Zondervan/October 2008) and the Sticky Church Conference. You may also visit the North Coast Training Network at

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