North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

Week 6 – Devotional 3

READ

Scripture: Luke 18:9-14

Part of human beings’ judgmentalism, if we’re really honest with ourselves, is that we feel better when we can look down on other people. This tendency is true of nearly everyone, including devout religious people. Even as we seek to please God, we are tempted to make ourselves feel better in our devotion if we convince ourselves we’re more devoted than the next person. Jesus is asking us to unlearn this habit. Look at the parable in today’s passage: the hated, wicked tax collector is the hero because he owns his sinfulness before God and asks for mercy. He is the one justified in this story, while the Pharisee continues to trust in his own righteousness.

REFLECT

Have you ever had private thoughts like this Pharisee’s, i.e. “Thank God I’m not like _______”?

Why is it so harmful and inaccurate to think this way about others?

Make a list of all the areas of your life in which you currently need God’s mercy.

RESPOND

Take time to thank God for his mercy in each area you listed above.

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Week 5 – Devotional 1

READ Scripture: Matthew 6:5-13

There are two ways we can make prayer all about us, and Jesus addresses both in this passage. First, we can pray long prayers in front of other people, attempting to impress them with how super-spiritual we are. The Pharisees offered many prayers like this. Second, we can pray only for things that will benefit ourselves and make our lives more successful or comfortable. Jesus warns us not to pray selfishly and models the types of things to pray for: God’s concerns (his exaltation, kingdom, and will), then our concerns (daily needs, forgiveness, and spiritual warfare). Both halves of the prayer cause us to draw near to and worship God.

REFLECT

What is your prayer life like? Write out a description of your experience of prayer, including a list of all your motivations (good or bad) to pray.

What do you normally pray for?

RESPOND

Commit to pray every day this week in a way that reflects the themes of the prayer Jesus models for us in this passage.

Download Week 5 Devotional.