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.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:13
13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Humbled at the mere thought of coming into the presence of God, the publican stood afar off. You can’t miss the anguish in this man. He pounds his chest, and wasn’t the least bit concerned with who was watching. A valuable lesson can learned here. Without God’s mercy, we are all lost and undone. Unlike the prideful Pharisee, the publican sought not to exalt himself, justify himself, or compare himself to anyone. People in the Pharisee’s position, thought that by their public displays of piety, they were demonstrating for people just how righteous they were, rather than pointing followers to the righteousness of God.
Measure Twice – Cut Once
The adage is true. We want to make certain our measurements are correct before we make unnecessary cuts. I’ve witnessed people who are “pros” who have found they incorrectly measured only to find they cut something unnecessarily too short. The Pharisees were that way. Foolishly measuring themselves by the status of others, they felt as long as they were doing more than anyone else, or behaved more righteously than anyone, this equated to being godly. They never measured correctly to begin with. The publican on the other hand, measure himself against the Holiness and Righteousness of God and realized, God’s mercy is always required for any of us to “make the cut!”
Paul told the Ephesians, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
If you want to measure yourself against anyone, do so against the Rule of God. He is always straight. He is always just. He is always true. He changes not…He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We see a stark contrast here between the prayers that are received and the ones that go ignored. Regardless of how long we’ve been serving God, it’s good to acquaint ourselves once in awhile with the message of the Pharisee and the publican. Both worshipped the same God, in the same church, and both were keenly aware of their responsibility to stay in touch with God. One got results, and the other did not. If you feel you’re prayer life has gone stagnant, maybe visit your prayer posture. Do your prayers measure up? Or, are you quick to point to your righteousness rather than God’s?
How Do I Feel?
Tired, but not overly hungry. Hunger pangs try to remind me that something is missing, but I use them as prompts to remind me to pray, rather than to eat. I have been drinking scads of water, but regardless I’m physically weak. Just one week left – so I have more behind me than I have in front of me…that’s almost true too even if you consider my belt line!