Into Your Arms Again
Heavenly Father, I praise You because You are just in all Your ways. I come now to learn more of them.
Read Luke 18:9-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Christians must humble themselves to know the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. To the extent we do not humble ourselves, there will be no power of the Holy Spirit in our lives” (Francis Schaeffer).
We have suggested that there is something of an artist in Luke. His portrait of Jesus comes to us in episodes, colorful descriptions of people, places and events that, in their sum, show Jesus as the Messiah. Some of his word-paintings are among the most memorable in Scripture, and have become iconic in our culture. Two such pictures are featured in this passage: the contrasting prayers of two men (10-14) and the spotlight falling on the unencumbered faith of children (15-17).
The first is a timeless reminder of the basis on which we pray. We approach God neither brandishing our achievements nor seeking to win approval. God is not waiting to hear our qualifications. Rather, we come as prodigals, sons and daughters who have lost sight of his love and are anxious to receive it again. We come with sadness in our hearts for all that has been lost, but we come in simple trust. No embellishments. No persuasion. No frills. We cast ourselves on the mercy of God–and are received.
We come, in effect, as children. The link is deliberate, both for Jesus and for Luke. The first image shows how complex adults make their prayers. The second shows how freely children trust. Go for the trust, Jesus tells us. Come in simple surrender to a parent who loves you. Know, as the lost son of a different story learned, that this God to whom you come is waiting for you. Know that embrace, not admonition, is your destiny.
Analyze your prayers. Are there any attitudes or patterns that need correcting? If so, pray for help to do it.
Loving Savior, take from me the pride that will not surrender its will to You, the blindness which does not see the wonder of Your love, and the short-sightedness which puts pleasure over eternal joy.
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