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How do you view and approach God? Is He your buddy? Is He a vague idea? Is He your creator? Is He a God of love? Judgement? Both? How do you balance this idea? Our culture has lost reverence for God. This is sad because Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Our world needs God’s wisdom. I would like to say that only the world has this problem of how they view God, but I fear that we in the church struggle as well. Luke 18:9-14 is the parable of the Pharisee who viewed himself as better than others and therefore right with God and the Tax Collector who could not look up and only desired God’s mercy. I wonder how many of us wrestle with the attitude of the Pharisee. We look and see all of the other people and their sins (v11 - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or tax collectors). Then we see all the right things we do (v12- fasting, tithing), like tithing and church attendance and believe that these actions make us right with God. This attitude is arrogant on our part. We are approaching God Almighty, our creator, who is Holy. We have no position before God because of our religious activity. The only reason we can stand before our Heavenly Father is because of the work of Jesus Christ paying for our sins. The Tax Collector in this story is looked down on by the Pharisee and by us, but he is the one that Jesus declares to have gone home justified. Jesus declared that the humble will be exalted and that those who exalt themselves will be humbled (v14). Think for a moment about who God is. He is our creator. The one who breathed the breath of life into our bodies. He is our savior. Jesus died that we might be declared righteous. He is judge. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, not to fear the one who can kill the body but fear the one who can destroy body and soul in hell. Psalm 8:4 says, “What is man that You are mindful of him.” Who do we think we are? Our every breath is sustained by God. Our response should be to come into His presence with Humility because we recognize our great need. Let me finish where I started, ‘How do you view God?’. If your view of God is lacking, find your way into His presence and allow God to reveal His greatness and your weakness.

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