In Luke 18, Jesus tells of two men praying at the temple – one a Pharisee and one a tax collector. The lesson shows us that only by humbling ourselves can we be made right with God. It sounds so simple, but we find it so hard! Why do we have such difficulty admitting we’ve done wrong?
Early in our childhood, if we spilled or broke something, when asked we likely replied “I didn’t do it!” I tried this defense even when I was an only child, as if someone had come into our house specifically to get me in trouble. When God questions Adam and Eve about their actions, they attribute blame to everyone but themselves. It seems to be a very human trait.
We are so quick to divert responsibility from ourselves, rarely able to say we are in the wrong. But in the parable, Jesus says the Pharisee who claims he is righteous does not follow the most important commandment – to love God first. Instead, it’s about how good he is, how much better he is than the tax collector standing next to him. His prayer isn’t really thanking God, it’s all about himself!
We know deep in our hearts that we can’t save ourselves, that only submission to God’s will and accepting Jesus can do that; but we still insist on having our own way. Today, let us humble ourselves and let God have dominion in our lives, showing how we can be the vessel for His love here, rather than contestants in the “better than you” game.
Gracious God, we owe everything to you. Help us to see that nothing we do is through our own strength but only due to Your abiding love.