Luke 18 | Sid Koop
You’re not that impressive...and that’s OK!
My wife is a very talented and tough lady, and she is not easily impressed...especially by people who think they are impressive...especially if one of those people is me! At times, this can be hard for me. There are times when I try and impress her, when I actually think I am pretty “impressive”. But without exception, those times just turn her off. It can be frustrating when you think you are impressive, but the person you are trying to impress disagrees.
On the other hand, this reality can bring a lot of peace as well. When I finally realize I don’t need to impress Jen, and that I don’t need to be better than everyone else, I can move from the fear of rejection, to the freedom of acceptance. Here is the truth, what “impresses” my wife most, is not when I try and show her how great I am, but rather when I am simply honest and humble about who I really am. This changes everything.
One of the great pressures of life, some of us feel, is the pressure to impress God. We want to be accepted by Him and we are afraid that if we don’t measure up, we will be rejected by Him. The truth is we can’t impress God. In fact, God does not want us to show Him how great we are, but rather, He wants us to be honest and humble about who we really are. This can change everything.
Luke 18:9-14 says, "Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 'Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: "I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income." But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.'”
Who was Jesus talking to?
Who were the two men in the story who went to the temple to pray?
Describe how they approached God in their prayers. How did God respond to their prayers?
Why do you think God responded the way He did the Pharisee and the tax collector?
What does God’s response tell us about His character?
From this passage, what does it mean to be “honest and humble”?
The fact of the matter is, none of us are good enough to impress God. No matter how religious we are, no matter how “good” we are, none of us are good enough. Even if our actions look good like the Pharisee, our hearts just don’t measure up. His pride was shown in how he compared himself to the tax collector. Truth is, God does not compare us to others, He compares us to Himself, and none of us measure up. We can’t earn God’s love.
At first, this sounds like tough news. But in all actuality, it is great news. Because while we cannot earn God’s love, if we are honest and humble ourselves like the tax collector, acknowledge and confess our sin, He will pour His love out on us. My friends, He doesn’t love us because of who we are, He loves us because of who He is! We just need to humble ourselves, we need to be honest and surrender to Him and He changes everything.
A couple of personal questions...
Have you been trying to impress others lately? If so, how have you been doing that and why?
Has it been hard for you to be humble before Christ lately? Is there any area of your life that you have not been honest about with Him? If so, why?
Would you be willing to take some time and simply list the things you have been doing, or hiding in order to impress God? Would you confess “your reality” to Him and simply rest in the fact that He loves You? My friends, this could change everything.