Scripture: Luke 18:10-14
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.13And 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. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
As we read this scripture we see a stark contrast between the Pharisee and the publican. It’s so important for us to visit this portion of Christ’s teaching as we are in the middle of a fast. I’ve observed in times past, with myself, and with others, that when going on fast, we can develop the tendency to come across self-righteous or “holier-than-thou.” As the Pharisee in this parable goes through the litany of things he feels makes him more righteous than everyone else, we find that he has set his standard for comparison quite low. You see, the Pharisee foolishly used others as a scale, or standard of measurement. In defense of his ministry Paul states to the Corinthians, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (II Corinthians 10:12).”
So, much like a bully does in school, the Pharisee would play off of the weaknesses of others in order to make HIM look better. Isaiah had it right a long time ago when he said, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6).” It’s not our righteousness that justifies us; it’s the Grace of God! Simply saying, “well, at least I’m not as bad as some people,” doesn’t make you righteous. That’s why there is but ONE that is righteous, and ONE standard by which all righteousness will be measured – God’s Righteousness!
We’ll get to the publican tomorrow, but I wanted those that are fasting to know, be aware of the potential of coming across as if you are better than someone else just because you are…”Doing more than anyone else.” Or, worse yet, “At least I’m not as bad as so-and-so!” Hint, Hint, wink, wink!
How Do I Feel?
I slipped a bit this weekend. I know, I know, I may have let some of you down, but I’m not doing this fast for acclaim. The very reason I slipped, is the very reason I need to continue the fast. You want me to tell how I slipped? Not gonna happen – I wouldn’t want to put you in peril of being like the Pharisee, comparing your fast to mine and saying…”well at least I didn’t bomb, like Mangold!”
That being said, my body doesn’t feel that great. Praise the Lord who has been my companion through the fatigue. I seriously could not do this without Him.