Have you ever considered trying to impress God? I haven’t but, the only possible way that we could do it would be to become more like Jesus. Humble and being a servant to others, not with your “accomplishments” or with prideful boasting, and with humility. Those are the qualities that would impress God about you and me. Why would that impress God you may ask?
Because humans like us are not made to be humble. It is not easy for us to be humble and not prideful, especially when we have done something to be proud of. We want someone to reward us, to be proud of us and we want to be recognized. We don’t have the true ability to be humble until we are born again into God’s family. You may know some people who are humble but I would bet that they are Christians.
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Jesus tells us in these situations that the man who is humble, who knows that he is a sinner and who comes to God confessing his guilt and asking for mercy and God’s forgiveness is the one who will be justified and forgiven. Why?
Because of his humility and his humble way of coming before God. He didn’t come before God as if he was God’s equal or acting like God was lucky to have him in his house! He came before his Creator, knowing that he was the created and that he had nothing to give to God except for his repentance and his life. God accepted him, just as He did with the offering of Abel so long ago.
When I wrote this, I don’t intend to give the impression that we have to be humble to the point of allowing people to walk over us. Humility and meekness are not to be confused with weakness. Being humble is part of your character that is evident when you don’t brag and boast about things. Humility doesn’t have to boast. Just as someone with a Corvette doesn’t have to race people to know that they could beat them in a race. It would take an extraordinary car to win against a Corvette don’t you think?
Now, I don’t mean to say that people who buy a Corvette are humble. Most of the people who buy one are not, they want to be seen, they want to let everyone to know that they have the means to get this car. It is very likely that the Pharisee would’ve been the one who owned the Corvette. The publican was usually a tax collector and he may have had more money than the Pharisee, but I would bet that he had a donkey or a used car, if you want to make it a bit more modern. He wasn’t flashy nor was he one who boasted about what he had or who he was, he just knew he was a sinner and he knew he needed God’s forgiveness.
This next story is something that you may recognize someone who you have met at some point in your life. I read this on a website that I use for sermon ideas and I think it applies here as well:
There was a very lost, wicked, and rebellious man who decided it would be good for business if he went down to the church and joined it. He was an adulterer, an alcoholic, and had never been a member of a church in his life.
But when he went down to place membership, he gave public testimony to the church that there was no sin in his life, and that he had grown up in the church, and they readily accepted him as a member.
When he went home he told his wife what he had done, and his wife, a very godly lady, exploded. She condemned him for being a hypocrite, and demanded that he go back to the church the next week and confess what he really was. Well, God used his wife to really break him, and he took it to heart.
The next Sunday he went back to the church, walked down to the front again, and this time confessed to the church all of his sins. He told them he was dishonest, an alcoholic, an adulterer, and that he was sorry. They revoked his membership on the spot.
He walked out of the church that day scratching his head and muttered to himself: “These church folks are really strange. I told a lie and they took me in; and when I told the truth they kicked me out!”
How about that? Would a church today do something like that? Some would and some would accept him and forgive him when he came and told them the truth.
What about you? Would you forgive him for lying to you and your church?
Sometimes we want to believe the best about people when we meet them and then when we find out that our perception was wrong, we feel hurt and angry. Where would we be if God felt hurt and angry when people reject Him and His Son? Thankfully, God is much more patient with us than we are with each other, Amen?
If there is anything in your life that needs to be brought to God’s attention, be like the publican and bring it before God. Ask forgiveness and confess whatever it may be so that you can walk out and be at ease and at peace because you have taken that pain or whatever it may be and you have given it to God. Then, give yourself to God and decide that from this point on…from today forward you are going to walk in humble obedience to God and listen to Him as you pray and study His Word.