Righteousness! This is a mysterious word. It is often described as ‘living right’. This has puzzled me because what is the goal of life – to live right? Is it about how well I can muster up my determination to do ‘all the right things’? Because that is overwhelming to me.
Because I try and try and try – I succeed for some time and then it seems to fall apart at some point again. It is like an emotional game. When I ‘feel’ confident, strong, well – I can live ‘righteously’. And when I am down, discouraged, overwhelmed – I give in to all that my heart longs for from the world.
I just happened to grow up in a good home, loving parents, good church community etc. So my ‘desires’ are not as overtly ‘worldly’ as others who perhaps didn’t grow up in the same environment. It would be easy for me to look at my life as if I did something marvelous to be someone that ‘behaves’ well among people! At least I am not like that person over there!
This is NOT the truth about righteousness. God never intended for us to play a comparison game about the deeds that we do. If this were the case all the excitable people, those with mild cases of ADD and all the adventurous people are hooped. And the reserved introverts – would be the only ones that lived ‘righteous’. They would be able to stay in their homes and not do anything ‘bad’. Righteousness is not determined by your personality type.
It is true that our upbringing impacts how we relate to God and each other. If your Dad had a short fuse – you likely initially view God in a similar light. Or if you begged your parents long enough you got what you wanted – likely you will initially start responding to God in that light! Righteousness is not determined by your initial lens of God because of your upbringing.
We are all made different. We are to relate to the world around us – in the way that we are created. We are made to love God and relate to Him. We are built to be honest and real. To have joy and life. However somewhere along the way we started to believe that we are supposed to LOOK like these things. LOOK like we are joyful, loving, kind! Yet God designed us to BE these things!
But that’s impossible right? Right!!
Our own goodness still leads us back to fleshly desires. Hatred, lust, selfishness, lying, cheating etc. Our own goodness doesn’t work for the long haul. This is why God is interested in our hearts! And God wants to transform us on the inside. To think like him, feel like him, respond like him. And he is going to help us by actually living inside of us and talking with us as we go about our day. Showing us our true motives and intentions; showing us where our righteousness doesn’t cut it; and then giving us HIS righteousness.
The Bible talks about us ‘putting on Christ’.
To Put on Christ’s righteousness! Because only God is fully righteous. I think this is one of the main reasons why the writers of scripture pray that we will grow in the ‘knowledge of God’. That we will grasp ‘Christ’s righteousness’. That we will ‘comprehend how high, wide, long and deep the love of God is towards us’. This is why they are so passionate about this.
Because if we don’t get true ‘right living’ in order. We will forever pretend who we are. We will try to convince people we are someone that perhaps we are not. We will question whether we are loved – because if people really knew who I was – would they still compliment me, want time with me, like me?
Rather, being transformed by Jesus! Allowing him access into every area of our lives. Not hiding anything from God! Bearing all. Giving God access into every facet of our lives.
Attitude, thoughts, money, time, purpose, dreams, despair, anxiety, hurt, love, plans, future, past etc.
My prayer for you today is that you would invite Jesus to have access into another area of your life that you have tried to protect. And that you would have the courage to put on Christ.
Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
This is where our true righteousness comes from! And true righteousness gets God’s full attention.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.””
1 Peter 3:12 ESV