“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” Luke 18:13 NLT
In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable about two people who went to the place of prayer. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. Now when the Pharisee opened his mouth to pray, he began by talking about how good he was; how righteous he was. He compared himself with others and found them unworthy. He forgot that the Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” He was unaware that all the deeds he found pride in, God considered filthy rags.
In contrast, the tax collector beat his chest in sorrow. He understood that God is holy and he was a sinner. He identified with David in Psalm 51:5 when he said, “And in sin my mother conceived me.” So he came to God asking for mercy. He knew that he earned punishment from God, so he was asking for mercy. He was saying, God don’t give me what I deserve. Forgive me for my sin and help me to live right before You.
Jesus said in verse 14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” When you come to God in prayer, remember 1 Peter 5:5, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If you want to leave the place of prayer justified like the tax collector, be humble before God.
Thought for Today: You cannot make yourself righteous
Have a blessed day and walk in faith and victory.