The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican

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A Nugget from New Life Network

Scripture for the Day (October 26, 2015)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon 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 every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14)

This parable, taught by Jesus, draws a sharp distinction between walking humbly in the Spirit and walking proudly in the flesh. We have so many people today that have a hard time walking in the Spirit because they think they are so much smarter than the Word of God which they think is outdated and not appropriate for today’s modern society. What do I mean by walking in the Spirit? Let’s take a common example. Let’s say you are hurt by someone, maybe lied to by a friend, rejected by a family member, or something similar. Our first carnal reaction is to get mad, strike back, or hurt that person in someway, whether verbally or physically. That is operating in the flesh, not the Spirit.

The Word says you should go to your brother or sister and confront the situation in private. You have a choice to either do the Word or not do the Word and your flesh is always screaming for retaliation. The Spirit will never scream at you, but will quietly remind you what the Word says. God’s ways are not our ways! They do not make sense to the carnal mind, but they work so much better, that is if you want to succeed in life.

The paragraph just before this parable says this, “And he (Jesus) spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”. When we trust in ourselves, rather than in the Word of God, we are walking in the flesh and not the Spirit and we set ourselves up for all sorts of problems.

Choose to walk in the Spirit! Choose to do the Word! Believe me, it works so much better. I’ve tried it both ways, and His ways are better.

The carnal attitude sees no further than natural things. But the spiritual attitude reaches out after the things of the spirit. The former attitude means, bluntly, death: the latter means life and inward peace. And this is only to be expected, for the carnal attitude is inevitably opposed to the purpose of God, and neither can nor will follow his laws for living. Men who hold this attitude cannot possibly please God. (Romans 8:7, Phillips Translation Bible)

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