Pharisee or Tax Collector?
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18: 10-14
Let this sink in for a minute.
I have to tell you, I’ve been like this tax collector before.
All of us have.
Obviously, it’s better to be humble than to exalt ourselves. No one really likes it when someone continually talks about themselves and speaks as if they are the best thing ever – and apparently God doesn’t like it either. Proverbs has a lot to say about it.
Hmm… So, how do we keep ourselves humble? Is it through serving in our church or others? Do we pray more? Read our Bibles more? Or do we pretend we don’t have this problem? Face it, our human nature makes it so easy to not be humble. We are nothing without Christ.
Dictionary definition of Humility:
Humility is the quality of being humble.
Humility comes from the Latin word Humilis, which means when in front of someone, you feel small in the scheme of things – that you are just a simple, insignificant person. Someone who spends his life taking care of others shows humility. (This definition makes you feel like you have no worth)
Bible definition of Humility:
Humility means “the state of being humble.” Both humility and humble have their origins in the Latin word Humilis, meaning “low”… Here are some examples of Humility in use: Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”. A sudden Humility descended upon the King.
So, how do we show Humility?
Jesus has shown us this many time in the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He humbled Himself by laying down His life for us, dying on a cross. You see, Jesus was God in the Flesh. The God of the whole universe. He didn’t have to die on a cross for us. He humbly laid down His life, His God-ship, if you will, His Kingship.
The Creator of the world said, I will LOWER Myself to take your place. (my words not Jesus’!)
Can you imagine The God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, choosing to become a man? Lowering Himself to our level?!
We tend to think, “IT SHOULD BE MY WAY or the HIGHWAY.” Don’t we? BUT if we put God first in our lives, if we put our spouse and our children before ourselves, imagine how different things could be!
Humility is kind of like pouring water on a plant that’s withered and dry. After you water it, it springs up again. The more you water it, the more Life. In the same way, we can give life to others.
Without humility, we can kill relationships. Plants without water die. Water gives life to all of us.
We don’t always need to be in control or have it our way all the time. We need to die to ourselves. Don’t expect others to be a certain way because frankly, maybe they can’t! Emotionally or Physically. By being humble with others, we can help them through whatever they are going through by being an example. Stop thinking me, me, me. What about them, them, them?!
Let me tell you, I KNOW this is hard! I’m still working on this!
I’d like to share something with you.
Years ago, I was devastated to the core by someone close to me. I thought my life was completely and utterly over. As time went on, I thought I had forgiven the persons involved. But I didn’t. For many years, I stewed over what happened and ended up doing the same thing that person did to me. What I did was worse, much worse. It became a cycle of sin in my life. You see, I thought I deserved everything I was doing. Instead of giving it to God, being humble to the point of death. (which is what Jesus did), I handled it my way.
Until one night…
I had a dream that I was continually going around the block in my jeep. There was a spot of sand in the road. Every time I went through the sand, I sunk deeper and deeper until the third time. I could hardly get out. God said to me, “If you don’t stop what you are doing, you will never get out. You will sink deeper.”
Talk about an eye opener! HELLO! Thank You, Jesus!
I’m not saying we won’t slip up at times. When you do, ask forgiveness and learn from it. Strive to live a humble life. Recognize the areas of your life that need work. Realize you are not always right.
Lord, Help us to be humble. To show Your love to others. To realize that we are not always right about everything. Your word tells us how. I pray we learn from it. In Jesus name, Amen.
Deb Cool is passionate about Jesus and women’s ministry. She currently leads a women’s small group through her church, LCBC Waynesboro.
Deb has been married for 42 years to the love of her life, Rodney. They have awesome sons whom have beautiful wives. And they are blessed with eight amazing grandchildren.