Journal Luke 18 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “(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 I get.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
I tell you—this man 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 18:9-14
Observation: Pretty evident: Attitude is everything.
Analysis: Assuming for a moment that all Scripture is for our instruction (re: Ro 15:4 and 1 Cor 15:11) so that we could live honorable lives unto the Lord, one has to think that this story is NOT for unbelievers but for Believers so that they could recognize and avoid temptation and subsequent sin (James 1:12).
Pretty good, huh? Scripture always gives me something to think about concerning my attitude. And I am exhibiting something right here. But that is the point; the Scriptures are a mirror into my own soul and only describes what is common to man.
Humility is…the actual stance of a believer…. or should be. I don’t recall seeing any suggestion in the New Testament that being proud to be saved is recommended (I am very interested to see corrections on this). On the contrary, pride in any form is fiercely cautioned against (see James).
I readily confess that I can fall into the example of the Pharisee above. Perhaps not so blatantly, but my thoughts can betray me, especially in the form of pity of others.
That “pity” that whom I see isn’t “saved” is in possible correlation to the attitude that the Pharisee exhibited. Can I have true pity? Yes, but significant introspection on my attitude is required.
It isn’t NOT doing something that is the answer, it is the DOING. The example for me all my days is of the taxpayer. He is humble and demonstrates humility.
I have heard it said, “I know Jesus saves. The question I have is why did He save me?” Bingo!! Well said. I will not ever be able to fathom the depth of my sin, my inward nature, in the manner of how God sees me. What He does reveal to me can crush me…and should…but at the minimum should elicit a sorrowful, if only based in Biblical knowledge, response/acknowledgement.
My sin, compared to God’s holiness, is what drove the taxpayer’s example to me. Not understanding the depth of his sin, compared to God’s holiness, is where the Pharisee’s response came from.
It is something for me to frequently consider when I look in the mirror.
Prayer: Father, the book “The Enemy Within”, opened my eyes to the depth of the Gospel. Thank you for that gift of Grace you provided. It helps me to see Your merciful, redemptive Hand in much of what I see, even as blind as I am. I am so grateful of Your Mercy in my life. Thank you. AMEN.