June 16, 2022

Leaven

Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15

You may remember when you were a child how your parents told you that who you associate with will become who you imitate?  Another popular phrase when I was young was that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.  It takes some time, but it is very true that if you continue to connect yourself in toxic relationships, their toxins will poison your heart and your attitude.  Even if your intent is to help someone, it can backfire if you are not prepared in your heart and watching for the pollutants that can corrupt your way of life.

In today’s scripture, Jesus told His disciples to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees.  This sect was the most religious group of the day.  Hardly a place where you would think you needed to be on guard.  Ideally the priests would be the people you would trust to point you in the right direction and always be looking out for you best interest.  However, that was not the case.  The Pharisees had become immersed in bad doctrine and over the generations had been corrupted by the teaching of the former generation.  They were set on rules and traditions and determined to make all people obey them.  Love and grace were nowhere on their radar.

When Jesus warned the disciples about the Pharisees, He wanted them to not be so entrenched in doctrine that they had no compassion for people.  He was basically telling them to watch out for the seeds that other people are planting in your heart. He wanted them to follow His example of grace, mercy and love and that was the attitudes Jesus wanted them to grow in, not religious rules and policies.  Jesus brought His disciples along with Him when He went out to reach hurting people.  Yes, it was so they could watch and learn, but it was also so He would surround Himself with partners to be accountable to.  Even though Jesus was God in person, the scripture says that He was also a man and tempted in all ways, so He did need to keep Himself in check with others, to not be lured away by the traps of the enemy. (See Hebrews 4:15)

Galatians 5:9 tells us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  This is the message Jesus was teaching the disciples.  Do not let the leaven/teaching of the Pharisees get on you or it will damage your heart and carry over to contaminate the whole group.  He prepared them for the future days when He would be gone, and they would stick together to encourage one another and keep each other from falling into the wrong mindset.

It is what He wants us to do today also.  He does not want us to take on a religious works mentality that makes us believe we are better than others because we do good things, and our bad things are not as bad as someone else.  Instead, He wants us to love one another despite the setbacks and falls that we all take in life.  To help each other out and lift each other up.

Today my encouragement is to love one another, help one another and have compassion on all others.  If you are in toxic relationships that continue to pull you down and leave you empty, step away from them today.  Find yourself a group that will support and encourage you as you begin to press into all that God has for you.  Keep yourself accountable and protected by asking a person or a group of people to check in and give you inspiring words.  The best place to start is God’s word.  Begin lining your heart and thoughts up with His love and kindness.  Then find a small group or bible study to connect in where you can surround yourself with loving Christians that are doing the work of ministry and helping others.  Make the decision today to purge out the unclean and corrupt attitudes and take the Word of God and others with you wherever you go. Make the leaven in your heart God’s leaven that will increase in His goodness in your life and the lives of those around you.

Today’s scripture reading: Mark 8:11-21

11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 

12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 

14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 

15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 

18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? 

19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.”

20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.”

21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Published by L. Lyden

Lynette is a recently published author and coordinator of Voices Magazine who endeavors to use her gifts and influence to encourage and promote aspiring writers. Her Daily Dose blog has been an outlet for her to encourage readers to walk closer to God each day. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who loves spending time and going on special outings with her family.

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