Focal Passage: Luke 17:11-19:27
A part of this week’s lesson covers Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. It is a challenging parable to us about how do we come before God. When we pray – do we come to God with an arrogant, self-righteous attitude – or do we come with humility?
Thinking about humility, it is basically self vs. God in our lives. Let us consider this idea using the acrostic words self and God.
When we come as the Pharisee did, we come arrogantly before God. We see that the Pharisee came with a superior attitude.
He thanked God that he was “not like other men.” We need to see that we are all sinners before God. At our best, we are sinners saved by grace.
This Pharisee also came with an ego-centered attitude.
Five times he uses the word “I” while only acknowledging God once. He came to talk to God, while the whole time he was focused upon himself. When we come to pray, are we focusing upon God or are we too wrapped up in ourselves?
The Pharisee shows his legalistic bent by telling God how good he was because of all the things he did.
Do we try to buy God’s favor by doing things?
Do we have a list that we seek to keep because we want God to value us?
We should do good things – not to earn His favor, but because we are grateful for what He has done for us.
Finally, the Pharisee was fault-finding. He gives God a list of the faults of others. Do we constantly keep record of the faults of others around us? Are we keeping a scorecard to compare ourselves to others? Rather than putting others down before God, we need to be intercessors for them.
The tax collector understood GOD – grace offers deliverance. When we come before God, we should come because of His grace and mercy. Prayer should be focused on God. Prayer should seek His mercy on ourselves. We must come humbly before God, and then He will hear and answer our prayers.