COME AS YOU ARE
I praise You, Holy Spirit, that You know and intercede for every detail and struggle of my life. Be with me now.
Read Luke 18:9–17
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 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. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The Little Children and Jesus
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat season are you in at the moment? What are the good things and the bad things about it?
In an era when self-confidence, self-assertion, self-improvement and self-expression are our culture’s values, today’s reading comes as a healthy reminder that God is not impressed by our self-promotion.
The Pharisees were good people. They had high moral standards (11), and were devoted to spiritual discipline: they tithed, prayed, and fasted regularly (12). Who wouldn’t want them in their church? The trouble is that perhaps they were too impressed by their own progress in their faith, too dismissive of those who they viewed as outsiders (for example, tax collectors, verse 11b).
Jesus holds up two examples of the kind of person who gets in to God’s kingdom: the honest sinner (14) and the humble child (16). One knows that any hope they have of being right with God rests with God’s kindness, not on their own goodness (13). The other doesn’t even know that much: they just trust that Jesus will receive them, smelly diapers and all! God welcomes the honest and the humble. Don’t pretend, just come.
How easy do you find it to come to God with all your faults and failings? Take a few minutes to be honest with Him now. Write down what you feel in His presence: forgiveness? Grace? Acceptance?
Loving God, thank You for accepting me just as I am and patiently molding me into all that You made me to be.