Photo by Michele Bergami (unsplash)
Written by Charles Head
As representatives and ambassadors of God’s Kingdom we are held accountable for our actions, and we must beware lest we portray a negative message to those who look to us as “the light of the world.”
In the Word of God, we have instructions for anything that pertains to human life and we must choose to search the scriptures, pray, and ask the Lord to give us revelation in understanding how to apply them to our daily life.
The Lord Jesus gave us a parable which is found in Luke 18:9-14, which reads: “two men went up into the temple to pray; the one Pharisee and the other a Publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterous, or even as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” What did this parable mean? Jesus used this parable to make a point to us about being self-righteous and full of pride compared to being humble and recognizing that it’s God’s mercy that has brought us from where we came from to where we are today.
Therefore, we are not justified to look down on others, thinking that we are more spiritual because, in our opinion we are “righteous in our own eyes.” A “Publican” in these verses refers to a Jewish tax collector for the Roman government, who were hated by their own people the Jews, because many of them were greedy by collecting excess taxes to seal their own pockets. This story is a setting of Jesus teaching His disciples about being self-righteous (Luke 18 verse 9). The Pharisee, in verses 11 and 12, represents the self-righteous and the Publican in verse 13 and 14 represents the true righteous who are justified before God because of their humility and having a pure heart.
On our part, the question is which one of the characters and we? The point is this that it is very easy and settled that we drift into a mode of want to be self-righteous, which from the outside turns unbelievers away from wanting to hear from us. The solution for this, if we have examined ourselves and found that we have sunk this low, is to repent and ask the Lord to forgive us and to move forward by obeying God’s word with a broken and humble spirit. When this is done we will become fruitful God’s way.
Charles S. Head