Luke 18:11 How Do You Pray?

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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.’ Luke 18:11

Jesus told a parable of two men going into the temple to pray. One of them, a Pharisee, prayed with great pride. The other, a tax collector, prayed with extreme humility. Jesus commended the tax collector.

Pharisees were considered the holy men and leaders of the temple during the biblical times. They were supposed to be the people closest to God. While tax collectors were considered the scum of the earth. Very few people were considered as less than the hated tax collector.

Although when a person prays to God, there is no hard command on how to pray, there are some things that show up in how a person prays. One of the things that can show up is humility.

One common way some people pray is as though they are God’s gift to this world and to God. They feel as though God owes them everything, because they are such a ‘good’ person. There is very little humility in their lives.

Although the Pharisee may have been correct in that he was not same as some of those others in his outward actions, he was still the same and worse in other ways. Every person has sinned, and in his own being does not deserve a right to stand before God.

The right to stand before God has nothing to do with what a person has or has not done. It has to do with the heart. When a person has repented of his sins and is following Jesus, he, then, has the right to stand before God. At that point he has been made a child of God.

This is unlike the Pharisee, who thought he had the right to stand before God, without Christ.

You, nor anyone else, has a right to stand before God without the forgiveness and righteousness of Jesus Christ.

When you take time to pray, you must ask yourself how you pray.  Do you demand God listen to you? Do you feel you are a better believer than others?

Or do you allow God to be ruler over your life and humble yourself before Him?

During times of prayer, humble yourself before God. Allow God to be the king of your life.

I pray today that you will know who you are in Christ Jesus; that you will know true humility before God; that you will allow God to rule your life; and that God will help you remove all pride in your life.

Luke 15:1-2 Acceptance

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

As Jesus was teaching there were many people who would come to listen to Him. Some of those people were the hated tax collectors and the un-clean sinners. Jesus never turned them away, but accepted them. He even went a step further and would sit down and eat with them.

Through the rest of this chapter, Jesus responds to the Pharisees accusations of His eating with the tax collectors and sinners. He gives several parables about God searching for the lost sinner and rejoicing when He finds him.

Yes, Jesus did go among the sinners and eat with them. Notice, however, that His purpose of eating with them was not to just have fun or partake in their wild lifestyle. Jesus ate with them to show them God’s love and draw them to God. He wanted them to be changed.

Some believers will use these verses to promote going among the sinners of the world, but their purpose is to be able to have a part in the “fun” of the world. They do directly talk about Jesus when they are at those parties. They are there just having fun, just like everyone else. They are living in sin, rather than being a witness.

Your heart should be like Jesus. He went among the people to show them who God really is. He wanted to show them that they needed God. He wanted to show them that they needed the life through the salvation He would be able to provide.

As a believer you should be willing to be among the sinners of the world. Do not isolate yourself from everyone. Be willing to accept everyone. In the process of being among the world, though, be the light of Jesus. Do not hide your witness.

Be open and different from the world. Do not conform to the ways of the world. Share Jesus with the lost. Rejoice when someone comes to Jesus. Let God’s character in you to rub off on the people, not the world’s character to rub off on you.

I pray today that God will bring divine appointments with the despised of this world; that God will give you the boldness and words to be His witness; that you will be a light in this dark world; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

Mark 2:14 Following Jesus

“As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus at the tax collector’s booth, “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.” Mark 2:14

The ministry of Jesus had begun and many people were starting to follow Him. At different times, Jesus would walk up to someone and directly tell them to follow Him.

This time He went up to someone that everyone hated. This person was a tax collector. Levi was collecting taxes for the Roman government, who were controlling Israel against the desire of the Israelites. Since Levi was an Israelite, many looked at him as a traitor and despised him.

Yet, Jesus still called Levi to follow Him. Jesus looked at Levi in the same way as He looks at every person–they are sinner needing to be saved by Him.

Today, people often look at someone and state that, that person would never follow Jesus. They never give that person a chance to follow Jesus.

You need to offer the opportunity to follow Jesus to everyone you meet. Don’t just offer Jesus to those who look good or sound good. Pass Jesus on to every person.

Along with calling people to follow Him, notice that His calling people was not a request, it was a command. Jesus walked up to Levi and stated a command to follow Him. It was not left up for discussion or argument.

Jesus knows what is best for every person. This includes you.

When you offer Jesus to people, you must present it as a need that they cannot do without. Look at how a car salesman sells a car. He presents it in a way of a command that you need that car and cannot live without it.

Believers are to persuade people to follow Jesus, not just present Jesus. Every person needs Jesus desperately, even though they may not know it.

Do not be afraid to present Jesus to everyone you meet in a method that shows the desperate need they have.

Along with presenting Jesus, be willing to follow Jesus completely yourself. The same command given to Levi was given to you–follow Him. Are you fully following Jesus? Have you given Him your whole life? Follow Jesus today, it will be worth it.

I pray today that you will follow Jesus with your whole life; that Jesus will reveal more of Himself to you; that you will be willing to present Jesus as a need to everyone you meet; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

Matthew 9:12-13 Calling Sinners

“On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus had just called Matthew to follow Him. Matthew was a despised, hated tax-collector. There were very few people lower than him on the social status ladder. Along with calling Matthew, Jesus ate at his house with all of his ‘sinner’ friends. People were amazed.

Even today people in the church get amazed when another believer is doing something with a ‘bad sinner’. How can someone pollute themselves by being around such disgusting people? And, isn’t it possible to get corrupted by those people?

Very quickly Jesus points out that a healthy person does not need a doctor. Nobody goes to the doctor when they are not sick.

Along with that, Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6, is stating that God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

People in the church are very quick to throw stones at sinners in the world. Most sinners do not realize that they are sinners and are dying. They see themselves as a good person living life the best they can.

As a follower of Jesus, you are to have mercy on the lost. Jesus had mercy on you. He did not have to save you, but He did. He could have thrown the books at you and punished you, but He didn’t. Jesus called you.

You also should go out and call sinners to Jesus. In order to call a sinner, you must go where they are. You must spend time with them.

If a stranger suddenly walked up to you and offered you something, would you take it? Most likely not because you do not know or trust the person.

The same thing goes for the sinner. You walk up to him suddenly and offer him Jesus, most likely he will not take it. He needs to know you and realize that he needs Jesus. He needs to know that in reality he is very sick.

Although, you need to be careful in not catching the habits of sinners, you must be willing to go to them to call them to Jesus. Be willing to be a witness. Have mercy on the sinner. Realize he does not know what is really happening. Show the sinner the correct way by living it in front of him and calling him.

I pray today that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit to guide you; that God will open doors for you to be His witness to the lost; that God will show you ways to show His mercy to the sinner; that you will show God’s mercy and love, not judgment; and that God will build His kingdom through you.