READ: Luke 18:9-14
The Christian life is marked by a realization that we are in desperate, daily need of a Savior. While we are all made in the image of God (Gen.1:27), we are permanently marked by sin and thus separated from God (Rom. 3:23). In our brokenness, and distance from our loving God, it becomes easy to seek out approval, recognition and validation in the world. We see this nearly every day in nearly every one.
In this parable, Jesus paints a stark dichotomy of two hearts, two men and two very different expressions of faith toward the Lord amidst a broken society. The Pharisee’s heart is one marked by personal pride, and mistaken faith that he had favor in the Lord based solely upon his own spiritual discipline. Perhaps it would be easy to see this as warranted. He was favored amongst his worldly peers, and likely validated as such. Yet, ironically, this quickly poisoned his heart with pride, and ultimately love, toward
the world — not God.
As Jesus shows, the raw plea for mercy towards God is the purest expression of love. The tax collector, even in the midst of his own self-evident sin, maintained his reverence towards the Lord. He looked up, not down. He recognized his own distance from justification. This, Jesus says, leads to exaltation, righteousness, and reward in the form of salvation.
As Christians, trusting Jesus Christ as Savior of our lives is an act of humility, and our continued daily dependence on Him for our salvation is a testimony that we have found a savior. After all, a humble heart before the Lord and a desperate dependence upon His own act of love and mercy is the very deepest expression of love we can offer to God.
God isn’t interested in us presenting any form of validation towards Him. He already presented the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf in the form of his Son – Jesus. We are to lay down our life to Him.
PRAY: God, may You be glorified in me, just as I am. May I trust in You always.