Humble Exaltation

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Two-minute read.

“I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'”

Luke 18:12

Humble exaltation.

Standing by himself, the Pharisee prayed boldly to the Lord, telling God all his accomplishments:

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” Luke 18:11 

Standing off to the side, a tax collector stood beating his breast, begging God for mercy because of his sinful nature. Pharisees saw themselves as separate from the ordinary, with piety as their calling card. Defined as “the quality of being religious or reverent’ [1], pious people have a high opinion of themselves, just as this Pharisee did. 

“For God shows no partiality.” Romans 2:11

God doesn’t show partiality. The Pharisee’s actions didn’t make him better than the tax collector. Nor did his bragging. The tax collector reflected God’s heart, not the Pharisee. 

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:16

Jesus told us how to fast, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector. God exalts the humble when they submit their will to His. The religious leader acted like a hypocrite, making a show of his fasting, exhorting himself to anyone who would listen. But the tax collector stood to the side in humiliation for his sin, too humbled to even lift his eyes heavenward.

Truly accepting our sinful nature will change our attitude. Understanding we all fall short of perfection and accepting that fact affects our heart’s posture. Instead of puffing ourselves up, we admit our sins and humble ourselves before the Lord. Accepting God’s mercy gives us new life, strengthens our walk, and helps us persevere during life’s trials.

As you fast and pray, come to the Lord with a repentant heart, asking for His grace and mercy. Accept God’s love, allowing it to pour into your heart and give you a fresh start on the day. Put yesterday’s sins behind you, confessing them and letting them go. Begin again with a clean slate, trusting the Lord’s guidance as you move into the unknown.

Journal Questions:

  • How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
  • Describe your heart posture today; which does it reflect, the Pharisees or the tax collector?
  • What steps can you take to develop a humble attitude?


Lord, thank You for loving us equally. Forgive us for making a show out of our prayer and fasting. As we align our hearts with Yours, help us accept and confess our imperfections to You.  Renew our spirits, strengthen our faith, bless our fasting and prayers as we submit our lives to You.  IJNIP. Amen


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