Humble Hero


Self-deception of Self-centered Motives

Leaven works without being noticed, changing the dough to its own nature. So if we allow hypocrisy in the heart, it permeates the character and life. A striking example was the practice of Corban, by which people concealed a neglect of duty to parents under a pretense of liberality to the temple. The scribes and Pharisees concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, instilling them skillfully but deceitfully into the minds of their hearers. This deceptive teaching made it hard for the people to receive the words of Christ. HH 187.5

The same influences are working through those who try to explain the law of God to make it conform to what they do. Such people do not attack the law openly. They put forward speculative theories that undermine its principles. They explain it in a way that destroys its force. HH 187.6

The Pharisees’ hypocrisy was the product of their self-seeking. This led them to twist and misapply the Scriptures. Even the disciples of Christ were in danger of cherishing this subtle evil. The reasoning of the Pharisees, who often wavered between faith and unbelief, influenced the followers of Jesus to a great degree. In their hearts, even the disciples had not stopped seeking great things for themselves. This spirit stirred up the strife over who would be greatest. This put them so much out of sympathy with Christ’s mission of self-sacrifice. As leaven will cause corruption, so the self-seeking spirit, if we cherish it, brings about our defilement and ruin. HH 187.7

Today, as long ago, how widespread is this subtle, deceptive sin! How often our service to Christ is marred by the secret desire to exalt self! How ready the thought of self-praise and the longing for human approval! The love of self, the desire for an easier way than God has appointed, leads us to substitute human theories and traditions for the divine principles. HH 187.8

The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God’s glory is the motive that the Holy Spirit implants, and only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign that He is working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and falsehood, when it leads us to seek God’s glory and not our own, we may know that it is from the right source. “Father, glorify Your name” (John 12:28) was the keynote of Christ’s life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life. HH 188.1