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The Publican and Pharisee, A Lesson in Pride and Humility

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by Greg Gordon, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Greg Gordon

    Greg Gordon Member

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    [​IMG] When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2

    Pride and the Devil

    When we speak of pride we also often times think of the devil. He was the beautiful angel who through transgression and pride fell from his place with God to a fallen state. Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God became the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44). He was soiled and became filthy and the enemy wants to defile all those who are unsoiled also. When we are free from pride the enemy of our souls desires to sow prideful thoughts into our life. Pride is a preoccupation with self, it is to say that I am more important then all others. Pride says "I" am always right. Pride is when at all costs we need to revenge ourselves of our abusers. Pride says that we are more important then others and when sinned against our rights are more important. Personal glory and importance leads to a proud heart and opposition to God (1 Peter 5:5).

    Pride and Selflessness

    Pride is in some ways the opposite of selflessness. When we are humble we seek the good of others even when we have been hurt by someone. Disgrace and shame comes with pride because God diminishes the proud one under his own displeasure. Just like Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, we can be blinded by Pride and a sense of self-importance thinking we are able to control situations and even people.

    Ephraim of Philotheou says, "The mercy of God supports all of us, but if we are proud, God will lift off His grace and we will become worse than the others."

    This is a profound thought that God himself shows everyone grace, mercy, and gives constant help. And when we see others in the body of Christ fail, or cause abuse, if we become proud, judge them overly and do not do it all in love, we can have God's grace lifted from our lives. And the sad result can be the brother who fails, when we judge him we can become worse then that brother. When we have pride against others in the body of Christ we have insulted the Creator Himself. We should never look down on others, never think we are better especially when we see another of our brothers and sisters fail.

    The Publican and Pharisee

    In Luke 18:9-14, we see the famous story of the Publican and Pharisee. It is a great contrast between pride and humility, self-assuredness and humility. The first error of the religious leader Jesus pointed out was of being "confident." It was a self-reliant attitude that I am in a better place with God then most and therefore can speak down to others and also not need God's grace as much. It is a subtle deception on the road towards knowing God we can start to trust on our past experiences of grace and not rely on the grace of God daily. And what happened? The religious leader, "looked down on everyone else" (Luke 18:9). He did not take the humble role of a being below others as a servant but rather assumed priority over others.

    In such a contrast we see the Publican come to our Lord and simply say in humility, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." (Luke 18:13). This one humbled himself before God, no matter how holy or progressed in our Christian lives when we humble ourselves we keep our position of walking with God in His presence. But once we exalt ourselves then we are cast away.

    In a famous drawing of this scene, we see the Publican bowing and humble, and the Pharise exalted and with one hand judging the other and the other praising God. Then in the picture we notice the hand of God blessing with grace and mercy the Publican only. Let this be a reminder that when we judge others we cannot praise God with the same breath and miss God's blessing in the process.

    Serving Others In the Body

    When we have pride in our own accomplishments and skills we are taking the credit for these things to ourselves. The reality is all giftings given to brethren in the body of Christ is to serve and help others, not ourselves. To follow the way of pride is to follow the way of the devil. The follow the way of humility is to follow in the way of the Lord.
     
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  2. WannaWitness

    WannaWitness Shining God's Light for a Lost World.

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    I was actually thinking about creating a thread touching on this topic, but I'm really glad that I found this one. This is a deep and insightful commentary, Greg; it is well-written, and I couldn't have said it any better.

    The more I read that passage of Scripture (Luke 18:9-14), the more it seemed to me that the Pharisee's "praying" was more like bragging to God about how "holy" he was compared with others, even to the point of making snap judgments on another man he probably didn't even get to know (the tax collector) right in his "prayer". Meanwhile, the aforementioned tax collector was broken before God, begging Him for mercy for his own shortcomings. As we read on, we know which prayer God honored. Also, I can personally relate to this passage because reminds me of an account that I witnessed years ago with a man I knew from the church I was attending at that time. He actually stood up in church and started bragging to everyone about how "holy" he and his family were in many ways, the way they dressed, and so on. This man had been known to point fingers at everyday people he saw walking down the street, including a lady dressed quite tastefully for the warm late spring/early summer weather (she had on shorts that was far from short, in my opinion). He was quite vocal in his observations on this female stranger and blurted out that she "needed to put some clothes on", a remark which I felt was uncalled for. He seemed to have strong convictions in many other things as well and held the opinion that Christian music other than Southern Gospel was "unanointed", and he was outspoken about them in the fiercest way. But it was not the fact that he actually had those convictions (in fact, every Christian is expected to have personal convictions based on how God speaks to him/her as an individual); it was just that he had a way about him that made me (and possibly others) feel intimidated in his presence. He came over for a surprise visit one time while I happened to be listening to a Crystal Lewis (a Christian pop singer) album, and when I heard he was coming I hurried like heck to turn off the music as I didn't want him to view me as no better than a heathen. I didn't think about it at the time as I was younger and didn't know as much about the Bible as I do now (and still learning), but this account from the Bible reminds me of that man I knew. On the other hand, I also understand that he may have been battling his own personal issues and may not have known how to handle them. But we all have our weaknesses in some thing or another, and this brings me to the tax collector part of the account, who handled his issues by pouring out his heart to God and pleading for forgiveness for his shortcomings. I relate to this as well, as having come a long way in my own personal walk, I still have many things to work on (and always will as long as I am on this earth). But sometimes we feel like a failure when it comes to being the Christians we ought to be, and being surrounded by the Pharisee-type attitude doesn't help the situation.

    It all boils down to this: We as Christians can all (basically) know where we stand with God and have our own personal convictions and opinions when it comes to a variety of "doubtful things" that some may think are sin and some don't and other theological matters (Romans 14:1); in addition to that, we are all going to struggle with sin (and I mean things that actually are sin) of some form or another. It's just all in the way we handle these things. We can be haughty like the Pharisee or humble like the tax collector. I choose the latter.

    NOTE TO THE OP AND MODERATORS: I hope this post is not inappropriate in any way for this thread and the location it's in; if it is, I apologize in advance. I explained the best way I knew how. Sometimes when I see a topic that strikes my interest I have a habit of throwing in my two-cents and elaborating extensively. However, please know it is always in an effort to be helpful to whoever may read.
     
  3. Greg Gordon

    Greg Gordon Member

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    Amen.
     
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