Focus On God and Not On Men

TNIV Scripture for Tuesday, July 22, 2008 [Luke 18:9-14]

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone 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 by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--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 all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.'

Jesus often used parables or stories in His teaching to make his points. Through this particular parable, Jesus illustrated a remarkable truth concerning how God views men in contrast to how man views men. In man's eyes, the fasting tithing Pharisee would be seen as more righteous than the lowly hated tax collector. However, in God's eyes, the Pharisee who proudly compared himself with other men was not right before God and the humble tax collector beating his breast was right before God. Both men were participating in a religious activity of praying at the Temple, but only one man had his eyes on God and that was the one who saw himself a a sinner who needed mercy. The Pharisee was so busy looking at himself and other men, he could not see how bankrupt his life was in light of God's perfection. Because of the fall, your natural tendency is to focus on self and become like the Pharisee. However, as you take some time each day to focus on the Lord in the word and in prayer, you can walk humbly with your God and be exalted.
Beth Warlick, 7/22/2008