We are dependent on God. Human pride strongly opposes and tries to refute this claim. But that is the reality, and it makes no difference whether you like it or not. That is why the Lenten daily devotional allows you to examine your heart and accept the truth as it is.
Lent Daily Devotional
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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (full text at Luke 18:9-14)
Prayer before God
We listen to a story about two people who come to the temple to pray. One is a Pharisee, a member of the nation’s elite, praying with beautiful words. The second is from a disrespected class, a collaborator with the occupiers, a tax collector. He prays with just a few unimpressive sentences. Nothing special catches our eye; different people pray differently. Nothing is surprising about that.
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But we are shocked by the end of the story, where Jesus tells us that God has not heard the prayer of the Pharisee, as we expected, but rather that of the despicable tax collector. A complete misunderstanding.
We are Dependent on God
So, where is the problem? If we listen again to the Pharisee’s prayer, it is clear that he is not so much thanking God as comparing himself with others. And his words of thanksgiving sound strange; his prayer sounds like self-praise, not thanksgiving to God.
That is why we need to pay attention to this. When we start comparing ourselves with others, we don’t even realize how all our attention is focused on what we are doing, our interests, how successful we are, how much of a loser we are, etc. And suddenly, we find ourselves thinking about a pattern of life that has no room for God and His grace.
We fall into the illusion that everything is up to us, that we have to trust in our strength, that only our work brings success. And this is complete materialism, in which God is only a symbol of “positive vibes.”
And the next time we let God back into our lives will be when we have a disaster or a series of setbacks. Then there will be reproaches to God that we are such good Christians, so why has He abandoned us and not protected us.
We all understand why we read this passage of Scripture during Lent. It is necessary to see if the seed of the Pharisees has begun to germinate in our hearts.
Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask you today to give me wisdom and humility. Please help me to maintain genuine gratitude, free from hypocrisy and selfishness. Help me distinguish between false Pharisaic appreciation and proper gratitude from the heart. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.