Last weekend was my anniversary with my wife, and with short vacations brings lots of work to catch up on! So my excuse for not having blogged much recently is that - a worthy cause, if I may say so (at least for my wife's sake!).
In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells the parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee thanks God that he is not as bad of a sinner as the tax collector, reminding God of all the good things he does. The tax collector, on the other hand, understood his place before God and asked for mercy. Jesus said that this man, not the Pharisee, was justified before God because of his humility.
I've been studying "The Faith" with my small group, and a passage on reconciliation stood out to me recently: "The first step, if Christians are to be faithful ministers of reconciliation, is to repent of our own failures to practice this consistently." This hit me because I realized that the more humble I am before God, the more grace I can receive. Or, maybe more accurately, the more grace I realize I need. Then - and only then - after I have received grace from God personally, I become able to give it out to others.
If I'm being honest with myself, I've been like the Pharisee. I've thought that I was a good person, that I did this or that well, and that there were other sinners worse off than me. After all, I've never murdered anyone or robbed a bank. I've probably even thanked God that I didn't do any of those things, and probably with good intentions. But this is a grievous error to make because it takes the scandal out of Christ's work on the cross.
As I am learning to embrace humility as God's servant, I am also seeing the incredible freedom, joy, peace, and reward in that life. The deeper - eternal - meanings of life come alive. The shallow trappings become irrelevant and even detestable. Learning to love my sinful state for the pure reason that it causes me to depend on the cross has been one of the most challenging yet fruitful experiences of this 60 Day journey. Receiving His overflowing abundance of grace and mercy moves me to share it with others, looking beyond the immediate and into the heart as image bearers of God. Through this humility, He enables me to love with His heart - a love beyond anything I could ever have imagined on my own!