Questions Out of Focus

Note from JesusDear Believer,

Have you noticed how people sometimes ask the wrong questions? Those questions reveal their assumptions about reality and their place in it. Religious people are not immune to asking the wrong questions. The two parables that I told in the verses below challenge you to think about the assumptions that lie behind your questions.

In the first parable, the implied question of My people is this: “Will God hear my prayers and answer my repeated pleas to bring justice and deliverance for us, His people?”

My response is the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. In story form, My answer is clear. An unjust judge can be swayed by a powerless widow who will not give up asking him for help. Surely you know that your loving Father in heaven will hear you. He will lovingly hear your earnest and repeated prayers and answer according to His gracious purposes for you. That answer will not be haphazard; it will come at the best possible time for your wellbeing and for the wellbeing of the fallen universe in bondage to decay.

However, I want to remind you of an even more important question: “[W]hen the Son of Man comes, will He find anyone who still has faith?”

That Son of Man is Me! You must live for Me with urgency anticipating My coming at any moment. You need to be full of anticipation regardless of how it seems your prayers are heard. The Father hears and cares about your hurt. He cares about the delay you feel in His response to your prayers. So please, be patient and faithful, knowing that I AM near.

In the second parable, the self-righteous man’s implied question is this: “How can I display to others that I am a person of righteousness and honor when I go to pray in the Temple?”

My answer is this: The Father doesn’t want you to try to make yourself look honorable and righteous to others when you worship Him or try to honor Him. Instead, the Father wants you to focus on a question of deeper significance about His love for you: “O Father, how can You be so gracious as to forgive me and to be merciful to me, a sinner?” Going home having been made righteous by the Father is much more important than appearing righteous.

Your questions, even when they are legitimate, often have their focus on you and your circumstances. Shouldn’t your questions focus on the Father’s faithfulness, mercy, and grace? Shouldn’t your questions focus on how blessed you are because the Father has chosen you to share in His grace? Shouldn’t your perspective include the needs of the lost around you? Shouldn’t your questions show amazement at the Father’s great love for you even when you were a rebellious sinner and so prone to abandoning your faith?
Verses to LivePlease remember two things as you read the following verses:

First, at the heart of sin, is an “I” problem. People focus too much on themselves! Even when times are hard and persecution becomes increasingly dangerous, don’t give up and don’t lose heart. Be like the persistent widow in My parable. The Father is listening and will answer you!

Second, God’s faithfulness, mercy, love, and grace are reliable. You can trust in them because you trust in Him!He [Jesus] told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged. The parable went like this:

Jesus:There was a judge living in a certain city. He showed no respect for God or humanity. In that same city there was a widow. Again and again she kept coming to him seeking justice: “Clear my name from my adversary’s false accusations!” He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself, “I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks. But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.”

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice? Mark My words: God will intervene fast with vindication. But here’s the question: when the Son of Man comes, will He find anyone who still has faith?He told another parable — this one addressed to people who were confident in their self-righteousness and looked down on other people with disgust.

Jesus:Imagine two men walking up a road, going to the temple to pray. One of them is a Pharisee and the other is a despised tax collector. Once inside the temple, the Pharisee stands up and prays this prayer in honor of himself: “God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people — crooks, cheaters, the sexually immoral — like this tax collector over here. Just look at me! I fast not once but twice a week, and I faithfully pay my tithes on every penny of income.” Over in the corner, the tax collector begins to pray, but he won’t even lift his eyes to heaven. He pounds on his chest in sorrow and says, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Now imagine these two men walking back down the road to their homes. Listen, it’s the tax collector who walks home clean before God, and not the Pharisee, because whoever lifts himself up will be put down and whoever takes a humble place will be lifted up.(Luke 18:1-14)Response in PrayerAlmighty God, I confess that I sometimes place myself at the center of my spiritual universe and do not consider the long-term implications of my influence. Forgive me for my impertinence in prayer and the selfishness sometimes found in my perspective on what is happening around me. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Questions Out of Focus
Source: Passion for Praise