"Jesus also told this parable to some who TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt; "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner!" I tell you, this man went down to this 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: 9-14
Jesus gives us a parable concerning PRIDE AND HUMILITY in our lives. Jesus gives us the example of two men who were in church, praying and serving God. But one trusted in himself and the other trusted in God.
Jesus shows us the attitude of a religious person, the Pharisee. He went to church to pray - and that is good, and needed. But listen to how he prays: He is praying more about himself and listing his accomplishments, ministries, good works to God. The Pharisee prayed: "I thank you that I am not like other people, I am not like sinners, I am not like extortioners, people that are unjust, adulterers and then he sees the tax collector and says: "I am not like that man over there praying." This is a spirit of pride when we think that we are better than someone else because of how righteous we think we are in life.
Then the Pharisee lists to God all that he has done for him. Lord, look at how good I am...I fast, I pray, I tithe, I go to church, I am in ministry. We list off our good works to God. Like God does not really know what we are doing. God knows the motive of why we do what do for the Lord or for ourselves.
God's Word tells us - "All our righteousness is as filthy rags." So why do we think we get points for doing what we should be doing anyway?
The Jesus points out the tax collector, and shows us the spirit of humility in this man. "He stands far away, and will not even look up to heaven, and in desperation he prays, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." That is the spirit of humility that we need to maintain throughout our Christian walk.
Lord, I pray that I will maintain a spirit of humility like the tax collector and not become like the religious person. Because God's Word says - "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”