We were visiting friends yesterday and we admired pots of flowers on the coffee table.
It was only when I reached out a hand to touch a leaf that I realised that the flowers were artificial. Hypocrite flowers my friend called them. They looked just like real flowers but as soon as I interacted with them, I knew. They felt different, they had no smell and most importantly, they had no life. They couldn’t grow or enrich the world by getting rid of carbon dioxide and making oxygen. If I came to visit in a year’s time, they would be exactly the same, no change in them and no impact on the world.
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were the epitome of religiosity. They quoted the word of God, they obeyed the law to the letter, they gave alms, they prayed. a lot. Jesus talked about hypocrites. In Matthew 6:5a He said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.”
Our prayers to God are based on a relationship. He is our loving Father and, just as little children relate to their father, telling him about their day, their hurts, their dreams, their needs, so we can come to God and tell him all our concerns, mistakes, dreams and longings.
God sends His Spirit into our lives causing us to grow, to serve others and, most importantly, to have life so we can never be like artificial flowers, merely a semblance of the real thing.