“…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Self-righteousness is denying God’s grace and exalting one’s own strength. It makes a person to justify themselves more than they are really worth. At last, it leads a person to lose all the blessings of the Lord. Saul was rejected as king not specifically because he offered sacrifices, but because he disobeyed a direct command that God had given him through the prophet Samuel. He thought himself righteous and missed the mark. Samuel had told Saul, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” But Saul, worried that his whole army would desert him, offered the sacrifices himself, just before Samuel arrived.“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel told him. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
Once, Jesus spoke this parable to some who thought they were righteous and despised others. Two men went up to the temple to pray — one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed saying, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, “God, be merciful on me a sinner!” Jesus said that the Pharisee’s prayer was never heard but the tax collector went back blessed by God.
Dearly beloved, have you ever heard people saying, “I read the Bible, I pray every day, I do Sunday school ministry. I sing for the Lord. I preach the gospel. But, why do I feel depressed and lonely? Why am I unable to feel God’s presence? Why are my prayers not answered?” The reason is simple – it is self-righteousness. Your blessings are not a result of your good works; instead, it is because of God’s grace! For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Only if we know the value of God’s gift to us, we can treat others the right way and not look down on them which is a sin. We should be careful that we don’t rely on our good works. Stand on God’s grace and rise higher!
Loving heavenly Father,
Forgive my words and deeds of self righteousness. The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. I desire to be free from this bondage of self-righteousness. Set me free. Let me enjoy Your presence and radiate Your glory. Help me to think of others better than myself. Help me to look at the plank in my own eye before I point anyone. Let me humble under Your mighty hand. This I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.