Posted by Karah


Find a quiet room where you won’t be distracted. Take a few moments to pray, asking God to prepare you to study His Word today.

Read Luke 18:9-14 in your Bible.

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. . . . But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’” —Luke 18:10,13

Read verses 10-14 again. Compare and contrast the hearts and attitudes of the tax collector and Pharisee

Pharisee                                            Tax Collector


The tax collector’s prayer was marked by humility and recognition of his standing (as a sinner) before God. The Pharisee’s prayer was marked by pride, self-righteousness, and judgment of others.

-Whom did Jesus say left justified? Why?

-The Pharisee was a religious leader and the person Jesus’ listeners would have expected to be the hero of the story, especially knowing the Pharisees’ emphasis on moral excellence. Why is it important to recognize that we aren’t justified because of our own goodness or effort, but Jesus’ goodness?


Believers are not self-righteous or prideful, pointing hateful fingers toward sinners and proclaiming they are better than them. Believers recognize their need for Jesus, turn to God in repentance, and urge others to do the same.

Pause to take stock of your life. Which attitude best describes yours: the Pharisee or the tax collector? Confess any sin the Holy Spirit reveals.

In what ways do you struggle with self-righteousness? What steps will you take this week to deal with this?

When are you most tempted to judge others for sinful choices? When that happens this week, think about the depth of your sinfulness and your own need for Christ. Let that realization affect the way you respond to others.

The last few devotions should have helped you to recognize the depth of your sin, your need for Christ, and the overwhelming nature of God’s grace. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, talk to a parent, someone you trust from church, or a camp counselor about what it means to put your faith in Christ.

Behind the Story

Pharisees were Jewish religious leaders. The name Pharisee means separated ones. They believed that ritual, rules, and separation from common sinners was the way to please God.

Justification n.= Right standing before God, only made possible through Jesus Christ.

The Point

True believers recognize their sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. When we humbly turn to Christ in repentance, He justifies us.

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