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Luke 18:9-14. “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.
There are two basic attitudes at work in this passage from Luke: the self-sufficient person who is convinced that he or she is perfect in God’s sight because of keeping a series of precepts or traditions versus the humble person who comes to God acknowledging sinfulness and brokenness, sincerely expressing an authentic need of the Lord’s grace.
The lesson we can take from this powerful example and our encounter with such opposing attitudes is that we must always seek God with humility and sincerity. It is precisely from this passage that we receive the ancient Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. This is a prayer that has been said in the East and West for centuries, and a prayer that should never be too far from our lips.
Recognizing our need for God and coming to the Lord with humility is the true beginning of a committed and inspired spiritual journey.