Lent is a time where we often practice spiritual disciplines such as fasting in different ways and methods of prayerful reflection. Yet, this season is an opportune time to examine our lives to see how we can follow Jesus more truly and faithfully. We can look within and ask the question, “What are my heart attitudes?”
Luke 18: 9-14 speaks of two kinds of believers: the Pharisee and the tax collector, who both came to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee prays, “Thank you God that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I am certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.”
Here is the prayer of the tax collector, who stood a distance away and did not even lift his eyes heavenward. He beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me for I am a sinner.
Jesus responds, “Truly I say to you, (which means he is speaking with great emphasis), this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
May we approach the throne of grace in humility this Lent. May our prayer be along with the Psalmist , “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me.” (Psalm 51:10). May we fast from pride, from unloving thoughts and actions, judgment and self-promotion and allow God to truly transform our hearts.