Scripture: Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men- robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.”
Observation: Pharisees were the religious cream of the crop, and they knew it. Lots of people didn’t tithe, but the Pharisee did. Many people didn’t even try to keep the Torah, but the Pharisee did. The Pharisee was willing to make religious sacrifices that few were willing to make. But at some point Pharisees became motivated, many of them, not by love for God but by arrogant competitiveness. They were notorious for comparing themselves favorably to the sloppy sinners around them, which caused them to believe they were God’s gift to, well, God. Once they started to think they deserved God’s grace and mercy, the life-transforming power of God’s grace and mercy could not invade their lives.
Application: On my best days, I realize how undeserving I am of God’s grace and mercy. But, there are those days when I think of myself more highly than I ought. Usually, this arrogance surfaces when I compare myself to those around me who are not as committed or contrite as I am. I may go beyond the standard of robbers, evildoers, adulterers and tax collectors, but do I live up to the standard of Christ? This is the question that haunts and humbles me, bringing me back to the reality of my dependence upon God’s grace and mercy. Today, I will compare myself to the standard of Christ, which will help me avoid the Pharisee complex and keep me humbly dependent upon God.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner. Remind me today that I am sinner saved by grace and that there but for the grace of God go I. no matter how good I may appear to be I will never ever outgrow my need for you to make up what I lack. Amen.