Summary: Our prayers should be that of the Publican
Text: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
Do you know anyone who has a tendency to exalt himself or herself? Those people who are always praising themselves, applauding themselves or paying tribute to themselves are exalting themselves. They are glorifying themselves.
We all know at least one person who falls into this category. Maybe the one person we know is none other than us. Have you ever thought about that?
We should not think poorly of ourselves because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, we should not go to extremes and keep telling other people and God how important we are, what we have done for others, how we have supported His work or anything else of this nature.
God already knows how good we are and what we have done with the time, talent and goods He has provided for us. We are very visible to the people who encounter us, so they know if our talk and our walk coincide. We are unable to hide anything from God and most people are smart enough to figure out if we are really the person we project.
On the other side of the coin is the humble person. A humble person is meek, modest or unassuming. This person is just the opposite of the person who always praises himself. I would venture to say there are as many humble people as there are people who like to exalt themselves.
“No Need to Mention the Name!”
One day, crossing a New York City street, a woman became confused, and stepped directly in front of an approaching streetcar. People on both curbs were sick with horror at her sure fate, when a powerful man rushed forward and not only rescued her from the streetcar, but also carried her to safety on the sidewalk.
It was a miracle of bravery and quick thinking. A police officer said to the hero, “I’ll have to report this incident, sir, and I ought to mention your name for valor.”
“There will be no necessity for mentioning my name.” “But I must put down something, sir,” the police officer insisted. “Then,” smiled the hero, “just put down that a black man did it,” and with that he disappeared in the crowd.
A ripple of admiration went softly through the crowd. “A black man did it.” What modesty! What quiet dignity! What modesty! What quiet dignity! What an honor to the whole race of black men! The man was Dr. Robert R. Morton, President of Tuskeegee Institute!
Southern Baptist Convention
This is an excellent example of a modest man. He did not think about himself. It was not necessary for others to know his name. He did not want credit for his deed. Praise was not something he desired. Here was a humble man. He was a sinner saved by grace.
Jesus brought this parable to the forefront to get the attention of those people who considered themselves righteous. These people also had a tendency to look down upon other people.
Times have changed, but people have not changed in there line of thinking. This parable is just as relevant today as it was in Jesus’ day. Some people are as conceited today as before. You and I know people who are full of themselves.
In other words, these people think they are holier than others are. In their heart, they feel God loves them more because of all the glorious wonders done in His name. These people trust that God will provide for them whatever they ask because they deserve it.
People who exalt themselves are not happy people. In their mind, they truly believe in what they are saying and what they are doing. They have no peace in their life because their focal point is on themselves and not on Almighty God.
If you are excited about being like this Pharisee, just follow the words in this little selection entitled, “How to Be Miserable.”
Think about yourself.
Talk about yourself.
Use “I” as often as possible.
Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.
Listen greedily to what people say about you.
Expect to be appreciated.
Be jealous and envious.
Be sensitive to slights.
Never forgive a criticism.
Trust nobody but yourself.
Insist on consideration and the proper respect.
Demand agreement with your own views on everything.
Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them.
Never forget a service you may have rendered.
Be on the lookout for a good time for yourself.
Shirk your duties if you can.
Do as little as possible for others.
Love yourself supremely.