“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ ~Luke 18:13, NASB
When I was younger, I insisted on doing everything myself. That way I could do it the way I wanted, and at the end of whatever I was doing, I could say, “I did it myself!”
A little time, little age, four kids, and a weak back have diminished quite a bit of that independent drive. There are things that I simply can’t do. Moving large rocks, for example. Opening stuck jars. Making big decisions. I can’t do these things on my own—some of them I can’t do at all.
At some point in our lives, I think, we all have to come to terms with our weaknesses. Weaknesses that seem to increase as time ticks by. Spiritually, however, we have to come to terms with our total inadequacy. Anything more than a completely humble heart who throws himself on the mercy of God is pride.
Pride doesn’t work for salvation. If I come to God with a list of virtues and a ready argument for my qualifications for His kingdom, I will be disqualified. He doesn’t want my resume.
Jesus relayed the story in our verse for today as an illustration, and He followed this tax-collector’s humbled prayer with this commentary: “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I am not qualified for the Kingdom by my own merit. My resume is stained and unworthy. Yet I am saved. Saved by grace alone.