Daily Devotional

August 6, 2019

The Trap of Self-Righteousness

Luke 15: 28-32
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”


Written by: Robert Watson

Luke 15 records a conversation between Jesus and the religious “leaders” of first century Israel. Blinded by self-righteous arrogance, the Pharisees couldn’t see why Jesus would associate himself with sinners. In response Jesus tells three stories ending with the story of the prodigal (or extravagantly wasteful) son. The younger son squanders his inheritance until there is nothing left while the older son remains faithfully at home. When the younger brother hits rock bottom and returns expecting wrath, he is instead met with grace as his father runs to meet him and throws a lavish celebration in his son’s honor.

The story ends with the self-righteous son standing (and pouting) outside of the celebration that he is clearly invited to join.

For Jonah, the story ends the same way. A nation turned their hearts to God, but Jonah couldn’t see the beauty of it because of his self-righteous blindness.

Jonah Devo 8.6Thought of the day: When was a time that you felt “better than” somebody else? How can this pride blind us to the beauty of God’s grace at work in us and around us?

Prayer: Father thank You for the grace You have lavished upon me. I am like the younger brother who didn’t deserve to be invited back into the family, yet You have welcomed me in with a lavish celebration. Help me not to fall into the trap of self-righteousness but instead to join You in seeking those who are lost and celebrating Your offer of grace in their lives. Amen.

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