Saturday, December 30, 2006

Are You for Real?

Scripture: Luke 18:14

(14) I tell you that this man, rather the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

This verse is found in the parable of the "Pharisee and the Tax Collector." This parable is one that makes us take a good look at our own life and we have to ask ourselves... Are we for real?

I have actually found myself doing things in Church, not because I felt lead by God to do so, but rather to appear more Godly than I really was. It's silly the things we do. It seems, that like the Pharisee, we sometimes become more concerned about what others think of us than what Jesus knows of us. A few years ago I was sitting in church listening to the preacher as he preached his message. He told the congregation to turn to the book of Haggai in our bibles. While everyone was flipping through their bibles I realized that I had no idea where the book of Haggai was. I mean I knew it was in the old testament, but where, I just wasn't sure. I quickly flipped through my bible hoping I would stumble upon it, but no such luck. I thought briefly about looking at the table of contents, but then I quickly reminded myself that I was a deacon in the church and how would it look if someone saw me looking at the table of contents, they probably expect me to know my books of the bible. I just couldn't look at the table of contents. I began hearing less and less flipping of pages as others around me started to find the verse we were looking for. I finally just stopped looking as if I too had found what I was looking for. I mean after all, who would know? Then it got even worse. The preacher started to read the scripture he had asked us to turn to. I immediately put my finger in my bible in the book that I was located in (I believe it was Psalms) and pretended to follow along as the preacher read. Finally he quit reading and began preaching on what he had just read.

Immediately I fell under deep conviction. I was reminded of this Pharisee that only went to the temple to be seen by others rather than truly worshiping God. I felt so ashamed and I realized at that point that I was faking it! I was more concerned about what others would think! How foolish. The sad thing is that I didn't even get to worship, my heart wasn't right with God. I was thinking of myself, and when you do that you can't see Jesus. Oh I was taught a lesson that day but it wasn't the lesson the preacher was teaching. God was showing me that a humble man gets to go home justified and that those men that exalt themselves will be humbled. I went from being proud to humble real quick and I thank God every day for the lesson He taught me that day.

God knows everything about us and even though we may be able to fool some people, God knows our heart. He knows our motive. We need to be like the tax collector, realizing that were unworthy to even be in the temple. This tax collector couldn't even look up towards heaven! He beats on his chest in agony and asks God to have mercy on him because he acknowledges that he's a sinner. This man has prepared his heart to be touched by God and he experiences Gods love, peace, mercy and grace. He got to go home right with God! The other went home feeling guilty and ashamed because he experienced God making him humble. I know this to be true... because this Pharisee was me.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for the way I worship. Forgive me for thinking so big of myself. Thank you for showing me that by being humble, I can experience true worship and love. Help me to always obey Your will and to never compromise being obedient. Help me to always be REAL for You! Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a Latin phrase that I really like to remind myself of frequently. It is "Esse quam videri". I first read it in John Eldredge's book WILD AT HEART. Translated, it means "To be, rather than to appear." I was reminded of how easy it is to fall into the trap of appearances when I read this post. Thanks, imbcreative