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Published on February 7th, 2015 | by Jaquelle Crowe

A Special Name for (Very Spiritual) Christians Like Me


I consider myself a very spiritual Christian.

You see, I have this invisible rule book in my head with lists of esteemed religious rules. I pretty much obsess over them — that’s what we truly spiritual people do, right? And all of this is out of strict obedience to God.

These rules cover many important topics, like:

– exactly what is acceptable behaviour during (and before and after) a worship service
– what people should say on Twitter
– what books people should read and what movies they should see
– how they should teach a Bible lesson
– what they should be praying for (specifically)
– what tone of voice they should use

You know, ridiculously important things like that.

Recently I discovered that the Bible even has a name for really spiritual people like me, with my regiment of self-imposed, extrabiblical rules.

I’m a Pharisee.

In other words, I am like the hyper-religious leaders in Jesus’ day. I have a strict moral code (made of dozens of rules that reflect mere personal opinion) that I judge others by. I can be hypocritical. I can be proud. And the worst of all, sometimes I think I’m better than Jesus.

What a horrible, horrible thing to think, is it not? But I do. And I wonder sometimes if you do too. I would never necessarily say that, but I act like it. I act like what Jesus did and said was not enough. I need more rules. More specific. Better.

And sometimes Jesus got His hands dirty when I just washed mine, and He condescended to serve sinners when I think I’m too good for others, and He showed grace when I would have exacted vengeance. And He is holy, and I’m darkly sinful.

But there is good news for the sinful twenty-first century Pharisee today. That man who we judged has shown us grace at the cross. He died for our hypocrisy, our self-righteousness, our false vanity. And so we can cling to the hope He gives, the mercy He extends.

So let us not trust in ourselves, but rest solely in Him.

“Do not trust in yourself, lest sin thereby have much more power over you.” — Augustine

“The place where God has supremely destroyed all human arrogance and pretension is the cross.” — D.A. Carson


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About the Author

is the 20-year-old former editor-in-chief of The Rebelution and author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway, March 31, 2017). She's the co-founder of The Young Writers Workshop and hosts a podcast for youth called Age of Minority.



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