What Jesus Did! 'Trying to Justify Ourselves' — Luke 10:29

Sunday, July 9, 2023

[After Jesus affirmed the importance of the commands to love God and love your neighbor, as stated by the expert in religious law, the expert] wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
— Luke 10:29 NLT

Key Thought

So often when the conviction of God's word strikes our hearts, we try to justify ourselves rather than simply throwing ourselves on the mercy of God and changing our hearts and lives in accordance with God's word. If the expert who had come to test Jesus had honest motives, Jesus' question, affirmation, and reply [1] would have been enough. But, the expert wanted to look righteous more than he wanted to be righteous. How many times does this pattern of behavior reflect you? Let's realize that we cannot justify ourselves. Rather, we can find our righteousness only in God's grace given to us in Jesus Christ. Then let's go out and seek to live his life in the world as we are supplied by the power of his Holy Spirit!

[1] Luke 10:25-28.

Today's Prayer

God, my heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to make myself look righteous when righteousness comes only from you. Forgive me for my religious posturing that has kept me from opening my heart up completely to your grace and from living my life in honor of that grace. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Romans 3:22-27
  • Romans 8:1-4
  • Galatians 5:6


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Illustration of Luke 10:29 NLT — "And who is my neighbor?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.