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Another time, Jesus told a story to some men who thought they were big stuff and better than everyone else. Jesus said, “Two men went to pray. One was an expert in the Law and one was a tax collector.” The people around Jesus frooooowned.
“The law expert prayed, ‘God, I’m glad I’m better than other people. I’m glad I’m not a thief or terrible sinner or like that wicked tax collector over there. I obey the rules and even give up some of my money to you.’
“But the tax collector’s attitude was totally different. He stood far away and hung his head low and couldn’t even look up to Heaven. He prayed, ‘God, I know I’m a terrible, terrible sinner. Please show forgiveness and have mercy on me.’”
Jesus looked over at the men who thought they were big stuff and said, “So I’m letting you know, it was the humble tax collector, NOT the self-righteous expert in religion, who was made Right with God when he went home that day. Those who try to lift themselves up to look good, will be brought low, low, low, but those who humble themselves will be honored and lifted up, up, up!”
Have you ever had a time when you noticed your brother or sister or friend having a bad attitude, and you think, “Whoa, they are being reaallly bad. I’m glad I’m not as bad as they are”?
Did you know that when you think or say that, you are being like this prideful man?
And do you remember what Nebuchadnezzar said after he was turned into a wild animal for awhile? He said, “Those who walk in pride, God is able to knock over and bring down looooow.”
So instead of being prideful when you see someone else misbehaving, you should admit, “God, I’m bad sometimes too! And I need just as much help as that other child. Please forgive us and help us both.”
Another thing that Jesus noticed and talked about was how people who thought they were big stuff always picked for themselves the best places to sit when they came into a room. Booooo!
So Jesus told them, “When you’re invited to a party or for dinner, and you pick the best seat for yourself, what’s gonna happen if someone more important shows up after you? You’ll be asked to move out of that nice comfy seat and take a lower seat. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing!
“So instead, when you’re invited to dinner, take the least important seat when you arrive. Then someone will notice you and say, “Oh, get over here and take this nice comfy seat!” Then you’ll be honored instead of embarrassed. Those who try to lift themselves up to look like big stuff will be humbled and brought looooow. But anyone who humbles themselves will be honored and lifted up, up, up!”
As we continue, you’ll learn that this attitude of humility is really important to God. Several men close to God told us, “God opposes or fights against the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Which sounds better to you? God having to oppose you — knock you over, and bring you low? Or God giving you His grace and lifting you up? Yeah — grace, grace, grace.
Someone once said, “Humility is the royal attitude of the King of Heaven.” Think about that. Jesus was in Heaven with His wonderful Daddy. And He humbled himself to come down to earth as a little baby to then grow up and live as the servant of all! That’s humility — God making Himself a man.
Another way you can be humble is to give God all the credit and love and attention for EVERY good thing that ever happens to you (and for every time something bad could’ve happened to you, but didn’t). ALL of that is God’s kindness.
It’s easy to be tempted to have a pouting or angry “Why me?” attitude when something hard or painful happens to us… when we should more often be looking to Heaven with a smile and asking, “Why me?” every time something good happens to us.
Any time something bad or painful happens to you, never, never, never think, “This is unfair,“ or “I don’t deserve this.” Instead, recognize it is either your own fault, satan’s fault, or God is just wanting to make you stronger and wiser than you ever could have been without the painful thing.
So in those moments, we should list the thousands of good things that we have that we don’t deserve.
That kind of soft attitude is Humility. And if you live like that, you’ll also be a worshipper. And Father is always looking for those Worshippers.