Let us approach God with humility so that we can serve Him and others well.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 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. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
13 ‘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.”
14 ‘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.’
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. This seven-word heartfelt prayer by the Tax Collector really says it all. In his time of quiet prayer with God he acknowledges his failings and seeks God’s forgiveness. He does not try to justify himself by making a list of the perceived good things he has achieved in an attempt to receive God’s favour. Nor does he boastfully draw attention to himself. Rather, he acts with humility, surrendering himself before God.
Humility, as defined by one dictionary is the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance. Reflecting on this word and its meaning I realise that humility is frequently overlooked in my daily life and in general in today’s often fast paced, self -promoting society. I did wonder if this is also the case with my prayer life. Most definitely! While it is important to pray for the things that concern us it is more important to pray for the things concerning God. God is concerned with people’s hearts and their salvation, and our prayers should also reflect that and the part that we are called to play in that. Acting with humility will mean that I am able to put others and their interests before myself but more significantly it will mean that I am able to put God and His interests first. May I become more challenged by this daily and may I be encouraged by the example that Jesus set when he humbled himself in service to others.
Head: Like the Tax collector, do I understand the need for God’s mercy and forgives in my life or do I rely more on my own strength and good works.
Heart: Consider how I might surrender my heart to God so that I may know the forgiveness and justification that comes from humbly trusting Him.
Hands: How can I incorporate humility more into my prayer life and daily life? Are there opportunities today for me to put others before myself, instead of doing the things that will please me the most? More importantly, am I seeking to do the things that would be pleasing to God?
Prayer: Dear Lord thank you for the mercy you have shown me through your Son Jesus, who acted with humility to offer forgiveness to me and to us all. Help me to become more like the tax collector who, with a humble heart, realised his brokenness and sought God’s saving grace. Help me to pray for the things that matter and to be less concerned with selfish wants and more concerned with others and your will as I spend time in prayer with you. I pray that I will become more motivated to seek your will and how I may be able to share your love and the message of your mercy with others in my family, workplace and in my community. Amen
A song to listen to: Have Mercy on me
Living Church – Creek Road