God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (Luke 18:13)

NOBODY ENJOYS being with arrogant people who flaunt their goodness; there’s something annoying about them. In the Bible, we read that God doesn’t exactly enjoy being around them either. The apostle Peter made that clear when he said, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).

The Pharisee in today’s passage is proof of that. In prayer he compared his goodness to that of others and bragged about his good works. His prideful heart wasn’t right before God, and this was obvious as he prayed. Unfortunately, because of his arrogance, the Pharisee went home in the same condition he entered the temple: unchanged, far from God, and full of himself.

The tax collector, on the other hand, acknowledged his sinfulness. Feeling deep sorrow because of it, he cried out to God for mercy. By God’s grace, he went home justified, transformed, and revived by the One who declared, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57:15).

As we pray, let’s come before our Father God the right way, acknowledging His supreme holiness and our need for His forgiveness and mercy.

Approach God humbly and leave His presence transformed.

Kathern Nemec and her husband served in Argentina for twenty-seven years as missionaries. Now residing in Ohio, both are active in their local church