When I started this Blog 7 years ago, the primary purpose was to have an accountability to reading God’s Word every day and secondly, to share openly what God was laying on my heart through my sanctification and what He was revealing to me through His word. My last post here was 3 weeks ago. This started out being just because I had come into a very busy work and family season where I didn’t have time to add on the 10-15 minutes it takes me to write these after my quiet time, but then I decided to wait and see who would reach out when they didn’t see them for an extended length of time. Well, ‘T’ reached out this morning and asked me if I was still writing as he had not seen one in a while. This totally warmed my heart!
I honestly don’t mind if no one reads this…after that first year of blogging my Quiet Times, I realized that the biggest impact this might be some day was for my own children to have something they could use from their dad when I was gone. I think I passed my 1300th post a couple of months ago so there is a lot of content there. However, I am now revitalized by ‘T’ to continue to set aside the time to bring my notes to this forum each day. Thank you ‘T’!
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:14[ESV]
Last time I posted I was in Luke 16 and am now in Luke 18. Today’s reading was the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Jesus tells the story of these 2 men who go up to the temple to pray and the Pharisee took his typical posture of prayer by ‘standing by himself’ and then said a prayer of gratitude like many ancient Jewish prayers start. However, this was not a God-focused thankfulness, but a self-referential one. The Pharisee thanks God that he is not like other people (really, like the rest of mankind). He actually calls out the types of sinners he is not like – extortioners (robbers), swindlers (unrighteous in heart and life), adulterers…”or even like this tax collector here”. He then reminds God of what he does -> “I fast twice a week, and I give tithes of all that I gain”. This is more a prayer of self-gratification than any acknowledgement of the greatness, mercy, and graciousness of God on his life while he is in ‘his’ sin.
The tax collector on the other hand, ‘standing at a distance’, would not even lift his eyes to heaven. In his humility and self-loathing banged against his chest saying, “O God, be merciful and gracious to me, the crazy sinful hearted man that I am”. That takes us to the verse above where Jesus tells us the difference in how God hears and responds to the two men.
Self-righteousness and self-sufficiency only present an opportunity to be humbled. When I look well on any self-perceived ‘goodness’ that I do as any recompense for the sin I have done and the wickedness in my heart, I am begging God to humble me by bringing me to exactly the place I deserve to be…a place of nothingness without Him. When I remember what I have done against my God, there is nothing I should have other than gratitude for the life I don’t deserve and eternal glory He has given as an absolute gift through the only thing that matters…a faith in His Son’s death on the cross for my sins.