Luke 18:10-14 KJV
 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
This passage of the Bible never ceases to amaze me. It is one of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is like a movie show: two men entered the temple to pray. One was a religious Pharisee, very strict in his religious rules and ethics. He observed all necessary spiritual rules that touched on religion and worship. He was a prayer warrior. He fast often. He kept strictly to a lot of religious rules.
The second man was called a Publican, or in today’s parlance, a very chronic unbeliever, a sinner, a Godless man full of unrighteousness and immorality. He didn’t know about fasting or praying. He kept no religious rules. He just lived his life the way he wanted.
But one day, the Publican, the sinner, the unrighteous man, probably, was fed up with his unstable and unfulfilled life and felt he needed the mercy of God, found his way into the church. He never even believed the Lord could accept him because of his numerous grievous iniquities. He entered the church with such a reverence of a saddened and flattened man. He came into the church with a great burden of guilts and approached the altar with a bowed head of a repentant man seeking desperately for His mercy. He could not even raise up his head to look up at the altar of God. He stayed there with his bowed head and tearful eyes.
Meanwhile, the other man, who was a child of God, full of a lot of confidence for his righteous deeds, who fasted often and prayed a lot; who observed a lot of religious obligations of offerings, tithes, vigils and other services, came to the church at the time and was praying when he saw the Publican standing before the altar. He looked at him with such disdain that would throw him out of the building. What was he looking for in the church? When has the revered altar of God become places for all sorts of un regenerated personalities? What was the drunkard and womanizer looking for where serious minded children of God ought to stand? He despised him and rejected him in his heart.
JESUS CHRIST SAID, THE PUBLICAN WENT BACK HOME JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD THAN THE PHARISEE ( THE RELIGIOUS MAN)
WHAT WOULD MAKE THE PHARISEE, THE RELIGIOUS MAN WHO FASTED AND PRAYED OFTEN, WHO GAVE ARMS AND GAVE OFFERINGS AND TITHES AND OBSERVED A LOT OF RELIGIOUS SACRIFICES, LEAVE THE PRESENCE OF GOD CONDEMNED AND UNJUSTIFIED?
What would make a Christian, who fasts and prays and pays his tithes and offerings and do a lot of spiritual activities REMAIN UNJUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD?
WHAT WOULD MAKE AN UNBELIEVER, A SINNER, A PUBLICAN, WHO DID NOT FAST OR PRAY, OR OBSERVED ANY SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES OBTAIN MERCY AND JUSTIFICATION BEFORE GOD?
There was ONLY ONE THING MISSING IN THE LIFE OF THE PUBLICAN, THE SINNER, THAT WAS PRESENT IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN, THE PHARISEE, THE BELIEVER.
This can also be called: SPIRITUAL ARROGANCE.
Or it can also be termed: SPIRITUAL POMPOSITY.
Wherever this is found in the life of a believer or minister, that person can not depart from the Lord’s presence JUSTIFIED. THE PERSON STANDS CONDEMNED ALREADY.
This is what David said when he stood before the Lord in search for His mercy:
Psalm 51:16-17 KJV
 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it : thou delightest not in burnt offering.
 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
It was broken spirit and contrite heart that the Publican who came to the Lord’s presence had, the Lord Jesus Christ said he went back to his house JUSTIFIED.
BROKEN SPIRIT and CONTRITE HEART are the two virtues that are heavier than any Sacrifices and Burnt Offerings before the Lord.
AND GOD WOULD NOT DESPISE THAT.
The Religious Man went back to his house that day, UNJUSTIFIED, AND UNQUALIFIED FOR MERCY AND FAVOR, despite all his spiritual sacrifices. WHY?????
HE HAD SPIRITUAL PRIDE AND ARROGANCE. And that had forfeited all his prayers and fasting and all other spiritual sacrifices. HE BECAME UNJUSTIFIED.
Luke 7:37-39 KJV
 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it , he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
The prostitute came to Jesus reverently with an offering of an expensive ointment which she broke and poured on the feet of Jesus. Weeping and broken in her heart for the multitude of her sins, she began to wipe the feet of Jesus with her cherished hair – a sign of absolute submission and repentance. When the Pharisee saw this, he became indignant. He expected Jesus Christ to cast the woman away. He expected that Jesus Christ would never give her any chance to move closer to Him because of her prostitutions. But Jesus saw differently. He came to seek the Lost and save them. He could not cast them away.
But many us, children of God, had cast away the sinners with our Religious Arrogance and Pomposity. We had rejected them. We had refused them. We had made them move far away from Christ. Many of us are too Holier than Jesus, the Christ. Many of us would never have allowed the Woman to come near our Guest (Jesus) not to talk of allowing her to pour ointment (Costly Perfume) on the feet and the head of Jesus) We are too Holy to allow Sinners around Jesus. We do not allow them access to the feet of Christ.
So, THE PHARISEE WENT HOME REJECTED BY GOD, WITH ALL HIS FASTING, PRAYERS, GIVING OF ALMS AND OFFERINGS AND TITHES. Why?
Because he did not possess the Spirit of love for the LOST. Therefore, in addition to your faith, dedication to the things of God, and the offerings and alms! have COMPASSION FOR THE LOST ONES.
But, the PUBLICAN, THE SINNER, THE PROSTITUTE, WHO CAME TO JESUS CHRIST BROKEN, REPENTANT, WITH CONTRITE HEART, WENT BACK HOME JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD. Because he came to God with humility of heart and Broken Spirit.
Do not forget that PRIDE is a terrible SIN before the Lord God.
BUT RELIGIOUS PRIDE IS WORSE.
Because, God can not allow a Proud man in His presence:
James 4:6 KJV
…..Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
As God told us to Resist the Devil and he will flee from us,…so also God resists the Proud and the Proud must flee from His presence. Many of us do not bother about many things that are wrong about us, but we are really concerned with some things Thant are wrong with others.
However, Jesus Christ, our Lord said:
Matthew 7:2-5 KJV
 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
May the Lord Heal us of Our Religious Pride.
Source: Mike Bamiloye