“BUT THE TAX COLLECTOR, STANDING FAR OFF,
WOULD NOT EVEN LIFT UP HIS EYES TO HEAVEN,
BUT BEAT HIS BREAST, SAYING “GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME, A SINNER!”” - LUKE 18:13
I fear so many in the church today don’t have the same attitude toward sin as this tax collector mentioned in Luke 18:13. So many think “lightly” of sin and don’t realize it puts a wall up between us and God. God is holy. A Christian cannot indulge in a life of habitual sin and not feel the tug of the Holy Spirit saying, “My son, my daughter…. this is not for you. Repent.”
The previous two verses we see the prayer of the Pharisee: “The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’” If we are honest many in the church today are more like this Pharisee than the tax collector. We view ourselves as upright, holy, having control over the sin in our life. The Christian life doesn’t work when we try to manage our sin. When we reach the point where we have the same prideful prayers as this Pharisee we’ve reached a dangerous place. We cannot truly enter into the Lord’s presence with such prideful hearts. Our pride, our ego, our sin management, all of it must go and we must realize the severity of our sin and cry out to God for mercy like this tax collector!
Repentance always precedes true revival. I wrote in my Bible next to Luke 18:13, “The heart of revival.” This tax collector displayed the heart of revival—a repentant, broken heart truly seeking the heart of God! That’s when God will send revival—when we stop pointing out the sin in other people and deal with the sin in our own life!
Read Luke 18:9-14. Who do you most identify with and why? The Pharisee or the tax collector?