Wednesday, 13th February
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Sometimes the very things we believe or think make us somehow more acceptable to God i.e. our “correct doctrine and theology”, or “culture or position in society”. But these are often the very things that have the potential to separate us from God, especially when we wear them like a badge, with such pride!
It may also come as a surprise for us to learn that it is often those who have “nothing to show for it”, like the tax collector, who often humble themselves before the Lord and show true repentance. The tax collector’s short prayer…or rather his cry for mercy, is indicative of the state of his heart: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51). The fact of the matter is that God is not looking out for our “Sunday best”. God is not looking for “more” religious activities either!
But you can be sure that He is close to those who are “contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”(Isaiah 57:15)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart O God, you will not despise…
Lord helps us to pray this prayer not just with our mouths but with our hearts and our lives too. Give us repentant hearts that want to please you and you only. Give us humble hearts and help us serve your children and your kingdom in humility.
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