To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “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 18:9-14 (NIV)
There is something that I have no confidence in whatsoever. What’s that? I have absolutely no confidence in my own righteousness. There are a few things of which I am completely certain. What’s that? I have sinned. I will sin. I am a sinner. My righteousness is no better than filthy rags. My righteousness is about as desirable as old dirty, stinky clothes. It is quite obvious to me that I am no better than anyone else living on this planet. I have nothing to brag about. I have no reason to look down on anyone else. I am glad that you know these things.
What do you have confidence in? I have confidence in your forgiveness. I am certain that you will forgive my sin and cleanse my unrighteousness. I am sure that you have made me righteous in your sight. You have made it so I can draw near to you. You have made it possible for me to live in an intimate relationship with you. Yes, I have done all these things for you.
How will you live your life differently because you know that I have made you righteous? I will live in humility before you. I will freely confess my sins to you. I will live in humility with the rest of mankind. I will think and speak and act in ways that will humbly lead others to you. I will do for others what you have done for me. Like what? I will love like you loved. I will give like you gave. I will serve like you served. I will go and do whatever you ask of me so that others can come to know and love you. I will reach out to others so that they may also receive your forgiveness and cleansing. That will be very good.
Lord, I know that I am a sinner. I am no better than anyone else. I have nothing to brag about. It is you who has forgiven me. It is you who has cleansed me. It is you who has made me able to love and follow and serve you. Thank you for drawing me to you. Amen
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