“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14 (NIV)
Be careful. About what? I think you already know. But, let’s talk about it. Don’t think too highly of yourself. In what ways? In every way. I created you. You are the work of my hands. All that you have and all that you are comes from me. You have not made yourself. Everything you have is a gift from me. I know that. Yes, I know that you do. But, it is a trap and a trick of the devil to make you think of yourself more highly than you ought to. I want you to guard against this attitude becoming a part of your thinking. I will watch out. A sure sign that you are in trouble is if you have begun to look down on other people. Have you been doing this at all? I suppose maybe I have. If I have it wouldn’t have been a deliberate attitude or choice that I made. I’m not denying that some part of me has been proud and maybe even feeling a little superior. I know that I am not superior to anyone at all. I am a sinner desperately in need of forgiveness, just like everyone else. It’s very good that you realize and acknowledge this. I have something to say about your prideful attitude not being a deliberate choice. What’s that? Pride is very deceptive. It slinks and slithers in slowly like a snake. If you aren’t very careful, you won’t even notice it. That’s why I pointed out a sure sign of pride being a superior attitude toward other people. You can always monitor your pride by asking me, “how is my attitude toward other people?” If you have a problem, I will show it to you. Are there any other signs of pride you want to point out to me? I’m glad that you asked that. Yes, there are two more I want you to think about. I’m listening.
When you trust yourself and not me, that is also a sign that pride has a strong grip on you. If you are wise in your own eyes, what need will you have of me? I don’t ever want to have that attitude. How will I know if I’m in trouble on this point? Monitor how you make your decisions. Are you bringing your questions to me and asking me for help? If you’re not then you have wandered into pride filled independence that will get you into trouble. If this is where you find yourself, stop and return to me and ask for my help and guidance. I will. What else do you want me to consider?
When you have begun to think that you are not a sinner or have no sins you need to confess to me, then pride has overtaken you. You are a sinner and you will have sins you need to confess. There is no reason to deny this to yourself or before me. I want you to have a heart that is always ready, willing, and able to confess your sins to me. You and I don’t want any unconfessed sin to hinder our relationship or your ministry for me. You’re so right about that. I don’t want to hide from you because of pride and sin. What do you suggest that I do? When we meet together daily, ask me if there is any sin that you need to confess. If there is, I will help you to see it so that you can confess it and be forgiven, cleansed and free of it. Will you do this? Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, there is no doubt about it. I am a sinner. I haven’t sinned just a little bit. No, I am completely unrighteous. I am confessing and turning from all my sins to follow you. Thank you for forgiving and cleansing me of all my sin. Amen
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