We often view it in terms of negatives; I shall not ……lose my temper….. gossip…… fiddle my tax bills….. swear…… eat too much…… boast about my achievements…..
Alternatively we see it as a list of things we should do….. get up early for a quiet time……. read the bible every day…….. exercise……… visit Auntie once a week……. have a spotless home…… go to church every Sunday…….. help at the soup kitchen…….. be a super-dad……
Righteousness, as illustrated in Israel’s history, was most often seen this way. The teachers of the Torah, the Mosaic Law, were so anxious to prevent transgression that they spent their lives defining and interpreting these laws, hedging them about with extra rules, so no one could be in any doubt.
The trouble is, like the Israelites of old, we just can’t do it – some of it for some of the time, perhaps, but not all of it for all of the time - and our lives are strewn with our failures.
There must be a better way!
'That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'
[Jeremiah 23:6 NKJV]
He is all my righteousness
I stand complete in Him and worship Christ, the Lord.
Jesus came to set us free from the struggle to be righteous through our own efforts. Jesus is righteousness personified, it is who He is. He died so that by identifying with Him in His death, the inner inclination to sin in us could be destroyed. He rose again so that we could rise up with Him to become new creations, and He ascended into heaven in order to send His Holy Spirit to fill us with His life. Righteousness isn’t being like Jesus, it’s allowing Jesus to live His life in us, to express His righteousness through us. Amazingly, Jesus, the Righteous One lives in me!
how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace
and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
This righteousness not only comes from Holy Spirit ability, it also involves His leading – it comes from a relationship not a rule book. It comes from our response to the still, small voice and our willingness to trust and obey.
We are called to walk in righteousness for His Name’s sake. Everything that God is is expressed in His Name. What if our one desire was that the Lord’s fame might be broadcast in the earth? What if our one purpose was to let Jesus overflow into the details of our lives; to be the means by which His character, His ministry, and His beauty is revealed to a needy world?
We have seen that our words hold the power of life and death, (see 'When it's good to change your mind' week 1). So let's declare these Bible-truths over ourselves:
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
The Lord is my righteousness, and He lives in me
I am righteous because the Lord says that I am
I am reigning in life because the Lord of life lives in me
The Holy Spirit always guides me on good paths
I am called to bring honour to the Lord's name
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