In today’s passage, we see a quote from Jesus that can quickly be taken out of context and often is. Unfortunately, many people will apply it to their job or their relationship or perhaps to competing on a team. Things may or may not work out as they think when applying this passage to those situations.
The context for this passage is religious. The religious leader comes to God in prayer, thanking Him that he isn’t like those who are out doing evil in the world. He is coming to God with a high opinion of himself. He comes to God in prayer looking down on some of God’s children.
On the other hand, the tax collector comes before God knowing he isn’t worthy to do so. He understands he disappoints God and comes before God in a humble state, simply asking God to show mercy on him.
We have one man coming to God in arrogance and another humbly. One thinks highly of himself while the other recognizes his own failure. One is telling God of how well he follows the law while the other can’t summon a single obedient act to mind.
I wonder, how do we come before God in prayer? Do we take pride in our accomplishments for God to the point of being arrogant? Do we list off what we’ve done for God and forget what He has done for us? Do we come justifying to God why He should bless us or begging for mercy because He have failed Him?
I don’t believe we have to neglect telling God what we’ve done for Him, providing we are thanking Him for granting us the ability to do so and giving Him the glory. You see, it’s all about attitude. When we come to God in prayer with an attitude of arrogance, thinking that God owes us something, we will find that God is going to bring us down a couple notches.
Yet, when we come to God recognizing we are no better than any of His other children and pouring our heart out to Him, He will lift us up. When we submit to God, asking for His mercy, asking to be part of His plan, He will put us exactly where He wants us and provide what we need. He just might put us on a pedestal, but that can’t be the reason for us coming to Him.
I pray we all humble ourselves before God. I pray we beg Him for mercy. I pray each one of us recognizes we are just one of 7.8 billion of God’s children on this earth. Humble yourself before God. Ask to be part of God’s plan. Give the glory to God when you succeed. Give thanks to God. Trust God.
Luke 18:14 “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.”