The Francis Asbury Society

How’s Your Posture (Part 3)

Posted on | October 30, 2010 | Comments Off on How’s Your Posture (Part 3)

By Rachel Coleman

Scenes 1 and 2 of Jesus’ parable introduced us to two radically different characters: the good, upright citizen and the businessman of questionable ethics. Both approached God, but with vastly different prayer postures. In Scene #3, we get God’s perspective on who’s really OK! In v. 14, Jesus turns from story-teller to commentator. He begins with the phrase “I tell you,” a solemn affirmation that indicates the full weight of his authority behind the statement: “This one, the second man, went home right with God rather than the other.” Can we let that statement sink deeply into our hearts? Do you feel the weight of both tragedy and grace as Jesus’ words drop into our midst?  

Tragedy—the first man, left his prayer time totally unchanged. He entered the temple confident of his own righteousness and left the same way, without having fixed his eyes on the Holy One. Against that yardstick, his self-defined righteousness would have been seen for what it was, “a pile of filthy rags.”

Grace—“Wonderful, marvelous, matchless grace!” The Holy God bends down to the person whose heart is humble and contrite, and lifts him or her up into a restored relationship with himself.

This parable teaches us a lot about POSTURE—the way we stand before God and alongside our neighbors. Psalm 65, linked with the Luke text in the lectionary, teaches us two elements that characterize the prayer posture approved by God:

1. Humility—Ps. 65:3 says (lit.)—“The things of our sin are weighty/mighty within us,” a striking image of the seriousness of our sin. Awareness of that reality is the first essential step toward a correct posture before God. Such awareness comes only when we set our lives alongside the perfect holiness of God and compare ourselves to him, rather than to others. That kind of self-awareness inevitably produces a humility that recognizes our own need of grace and leads to a very different response to our neighbors. There is no longer any place for an “us vs. them” model, because we realize that we are all equally in need of God’s saving, redeeming, transforming grace.

2. Celebration–The rest of Psalm 65 shows us the appropriate response to God’s justifying grace—an exultant song of praise to the One who answers, forgives, gives hope and provides in extravagant abundance. Luke gives us two examples of “justified tax collectors” who respond to divine grace with lavish celebration: Levi’s “celebration dinner” (Lk. 5:27-32), and Zaccheus’ party (Luke 19).

How’s your posture as you approach God in prayer?

Comments

Comments are closed.

  • Contact Us

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 7
    Wilmore, KY 40390

    Physical Address:
    1580 Lexington Rd.
    Wilmore, KY 40390

    859-858-4222 (Office)
    859-858-4155 (Fax)
    Email: Front Office | Webmaster

  • Ministry Matters Newsletter

  • Find Us on Facebook

  • Follow Us on Twitter

  • Find Dr. Kinlaw on