by Vicky Kaniaru
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) -- "To do anything less than laying down in surrender and submission to Christ cheapens the mission of Jesus," said Jeremy Morton, senior pastor at Cross Point Baptist Church in Perry, Ga.
Morton spoke Feb. 2 at Truett-McConnell's weekly chapel, where he encouraged the audience to not only pray faithfully and perpetually, but to pray correctly.
Expounding from Luke 18, Morton employed the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector and affirmed "there is a right way to seek after God and a wrong way to seek after God."
"The only way to be right with God is to humbly beg for his mercy," said Morton, who noted that both men went into the temple that day, but only one left justified before God.
"All of us are in the temple today, but what happens in our hearts determines everything," Morton said. "If nothing is happening in your heart, you're desperately distant from God."
Morton noted differences in how the two men approached the temple. The Pharisee exalted himself while the tax collector humbled himself.
Basing his perception of righteousness on those around him and not the "true living God," the Pharisee craved recognition, Morton said. "Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness -- it always leads to fall," he added. Satan, Adam and Eve, Samson and Delilah—all fell to their demise because of pride.
Morton highlighted the tax collector, who humbled himself. He stood far off in the temple, avoiding the spotlight. "[The tax collector] knows he's been caught. He knows he's a sinner." Beating his chest, the tax collector recognized his sin.
Morton noted key points on how believers should humble themselves: recognize they will never be right with God without Christ, recognize that there's nothing to boast about, and recognize that believers need each other.
"You can't do enough to make yourself right with God in your own strength," Morton said. "You don't have to because Jesus is good enough. And what you could never do, he's already done."
"You want power in your life, recognize that you have none apart from Christ," said Morton, noting the best illustration of humility—Jesus Christ. "There is nothing more dangerous and destructive than a person full of self," he added. "There is nothing more beautiful, nothing more powerful, and nothing so unstoppable than a person that is full of Jesus. Be full of Jesus."
Vicky Kaniaru is senior staff writer at Truett-McConnell College.