Do you think you are “good enough”? Have you caught yourself comparing yourself to others? Sometimes we get it twisted when it comes to how good we think we are compared to other people’s “goodness.” We do not have much a measuring stick if we use ourselves as the standard, “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” When we pray, are we exalting self, or God? Do we acknowledge that we fall short?
Read Luke 18:9-14. Look the Pharisee’s prayer. Luke 18:9-12
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
The Pharisee is basically saying he is better than everyone else. The Pharisee’s were the religious elite of their day. These dudes were the example for everyone to follow when it came to knowledge and being “spiritually fit.” But what this Pharisee didn’t see, was that he was as sinful everyone else. This Pharisee got it twisted. The Pharisee’s added to God’s law, making it an impossible standard to live up to. The believe themselves to be the standard.
THINK: Do you know all the answers to the bible? Are you known for doing “good things”? Do you thank God you are not like others?
Now read the Tax Collector’s prayer. Luke 18:13-14
13 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!’14 I tell you, this man went 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.
The Tax collectors were huge outcasts of society. Everyone hated these peeps. They stole and stole and stole. Yet look at his posture. He stood far off and could not look towards God. He had a posture of humility. The second thing we see is his desperation: “God be merciful me.” The Tax Collector knew he deserved punishment, but cried out his need for God’s mercy. The third thing we see, is the confession of the tax collector. While the Pharisee thanked God for not being a sinner (which we know is a lie) the tax collector confessed this truth. He was indeed a sinner!
Are you aware that you fail? Are you aware that you are broken and need to be restored? Are you aware that there is nothing on this earth that can save you other than Jesus Christ?
There are some ways we get it twisted and need to repent of.
- MY sin is not as bad as THEIR sin. #twisted
- I have been saved, so God must forgive me, which gives me freedom to do what I want. #twisted
- All sins are equal, so this particular sin is not nearly as condemned. #twisted
- I pray every week at church on Sundays. That covers it. #twisted
- It is mine and God’s little secret, He’s given me peace about me sleeping with my girlfriend beause we love each other. #twisted
- I don’t think God is as harsh about sin as he used to be. I think He is okay with us sinning as long as we love him. #twisted
Never believe any of these lies! Do not allow Satan to deceive you from believing the truth in God’s Word! Sin is not something to toy with!
The beauty of the gospel, is that God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, has saved us from darkness to live in the light, not to return to darkness. What God says, goes! He is our ultimate authority and loving Father. Don’t get it twisted!
Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:1 Romans 8