Humility is a choice to acknowledge God and His authority over our lives.
[Darris McNeely] As a counselor through the years and working with people in a wide variety of issues and personal matters, I've often found that it has been the most difficult to work with someone who is solely totally focused on their life, their problems, their needs, their desires, to the total exclusion of every other person in their life. The focus is only upon them. I find usually that they're not in touch with reality. And rarely, in all my years have I really been able to help people who stay in that frame of mind, focus only upon themselves.
There's a parable that Jesus told about this important lesson I think, and how we approach God, how we understand ourselves, and when we pray to God, especially in a time of trial when we may be bringing our needs and legitimate requests before God.
It's the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. And it says here that, he told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt. "Two men went up into the temple to pray, Christ said, one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector." Two opposite peoples in Israel. The Pharisee, standing by himself prayed thus, "God, I thank you that I'm not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector." And probably, you know, in the image here would have just turned and pointed to him. The Pharisee went on, "I fast twice in a week and I give tithes of all that I get." You know, the Pharisees did fast twice a week, I think it was Monday and Thursdays, were their designated fast days. And they wear their clothing in such a way to designate their righteousness, and Christ had a lot to say about and to the Pharisees of His day.
He goes on in this parable, He said, "But the tax collector, the who was looked down upon and despised, standing afar off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner." I tell you, Christ then said, "This man, the tax collector, went down to his house justified, rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." The Pharisee prayed only about himself, his righteousness, completely on himself. His deeds, his self-justification, as I said, that's what they were all about, outward expressions. But they were also out of touch with reality. They were focused only on themselves and the very self-centered view of life of God. And whatever relationships they had, it was really drawing it all to themselves.
The tax collector, he was humble. And that's what Jesus is saying, "Whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Humility is a choice. It is a choice we accept. It's a choice that we make in our life, to step down, to take the backseat, to not always strive, and to be on the front row. Humility begins in the mind. When we are able to acknowledge God, that we do deserve judgment, we do deserve, you know, the fruits, in some cases of some of our mistakes. It's good that we get grace, and it's good that we understand that. But sometimes we recognize, you know, we're getting better than we deserve, as the saying goes. And we get by, through and by the grace of God. And when we realize that, then it's a step toward humility.
It is a step toward that choice of being humble. And it changes our whole reality because it puts ourselves upon the grace of God, His mercy, His tenderness, and therefore, impacts how we think about and how we look toward other people. And therefore our prayers are not selfish. And our requests before God are going to be heard with a better chance of that, as we humble ourselves. That's the example, not to be like that Pharisee. Think about that.
Think about your reality, about yourself, and your relationship to God. The grace, the mercy, the forgiveness that we get undeserved, but given freely by God. And let that humbleness, choose that humility.
That's "BT Daily." Join us next time.