The parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) taught us that God helps the helpless and that our prayers are a reflection of what we think of ourselves and what we think of God. The Pharisee praised his own righteousness comparing himself to other people’s sins. The Tax Collector recognized his own sin and simply pleaded with God for mercy. The Pharisee rested on his own laurels boasting about his good works and adherence to the law. The Tax Collector humbly appealed to the Almighty God asking for the one thing which could make him righteous – God’s mercy and grace. In the end, Jesus declared righteous only the Tax Collector because he recognized his own sin, confessed it, repented from it, and put his complete faith and trust in the hands of God.
This lesson teaches us that ONLY God can provide righteousness. No amount of “good works” or “righteous living” will be enough to be declared righteous by God. God doesn’t want us to try to earn our salvation – it can’t be done – He wants us to recognize our total depravity and trust in Him alone for salvation. If you want God to answer your prayers, pray with the right heart, confessing your sins, acknowledging your complete reliance on Him, and rest assured that the God who Created you has a good and perfect plan for your life.
– Pastor Dave Jones