Jefferson Bethke says in his YouTube video that the church “shouldn’t be a museum for good people, but a hospital for the broken.” That statement struck a chord in my heart as I studied some verses in Luke this week.
Churches are filled with ‘good’ people who put on their cloaks of self-righteousness and parade around on Sundays saying “look at me, look at me, look at what a good person I am!” Unfortunately, they only fool themselves into thinking they are right with God.
Luke 15:1-2 records, “then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes (aka; religious folks) complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’ They were so blinded by their own tradition and ‘feel good’ religion that they completely missed what Christ offered them.
A parable about two men is found in the book of Luke. One man trusted himself and his own righteousness so much that he could not see the true condition of his heart. But the other man recognized the sinful condition of his heart and chose to humble himself before God and repent. Jesus said, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV)
This parable is a sober reminder of who God accepts and who He does not. He says in Isaiah 1:11a, “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices? I am sick of your burnt offerings.....” Instead, in Psalm 51:17, King David writes, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise.”
‘Father God, be merciful to me; a sinner. Your Word and Your Spirit continually show me the condition of my heart. Thank you for your Son, Jesus, Who took my sin on the cross and has cloaked me with His righteousness. Please continue to work in my life daily to make me more like You. Get rid of my own self-righteousness and pride. Amen.’
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6