When do spiritual disciplines become empty rituals? I try to discipline myself in my spiritual growth with prayer and meditation, devotionals, worship, tithing, intentional reaching out to the poor… when do I becomelike the Pharisees in this parable? Maybe it is our motivation behind our lists – one is to be intentional about staying in love with Jesus… the other is to make myself look good and worthy. When the sinner man beat his breast and prayed “God be merciful to me a sinner”, it came from a broken and honest place… while the prayer of the Pharisee came from a proud and arrogant place. Have you ever felt pleased with yourself for all your good works? Have you ever humbled yourself and faced your sin and asked God to forgive you, just as you are?
“God, be merciful to me… me, a sinner… one who stands in the need of your grace. Amen”