“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9)
If I have eyes to see, I should know by now that God looks not on the outward appearance, but “the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). With just the physical eye, man should understand that we are all made differently in some way, shape, form, or fashion. Most of the time, comparison is used in these areas to gain the higher standing. We must all have one true standard; and that ultimately not being ourselves.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Being shamefully guilty of this very attitude in my past, I now thank God that He has given me a new heart. A heart that knows the only way to be in Right Standing with God and to be in Right Standing with man on a daily basis is found in His Son Jesus;. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Yet because we have been so long trained to see with the physical eye both consciously and unconsciously, that is usually how we view, or perceive, others, things, our situations, life, etc., etc., etc.
Paul the Apostle says in 2 Timothy 3:5, some have the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:5)
It is my belief that in all we can think, say, or do, God simply accepts or rejects these based on our motive for doing them. A motive is something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.
In the text passage we see both men in the same place (church, verse 10), doing the same thing (prayer, verses 10-13), and looking for the same result (justification, verse 14).
But though we can see these men and hear them and know what they are asking for; we cannot see their heart. But God can! And because the heart is “the source” of our motivation; and God looks not on the outward appearance, but on the heart; then we should try “taking a different look.” No, we are not God. But we should be able to see things through His eyes. Why? Because He has given us the Perfect Example, “The Standard,” to compare ourselves with and others as well, His Son, Jesus Christ, God, manifest in the flesh.
When I truly see myself through the eyes of God compared to Jesus, I always seem to fall short. For:
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” (Proverbs 16:2)
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” (Proverbs 21:2)
I must say that in order for anyone to be able to take a different look, there must be a different look available. And even more importantly, we should consider what is offered.
Now, being able to take a different look is good. And having a different look available is good as well. But what good is taking a different look, if we don’t choose to commit to looking this way? Repentance!
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
I am convinced that Jesus spoke this and other parables to present to us opportunities that are found only in Him.