THIS SERIES: WHEN IT'S GOOD TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
What is Righteousness?
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!
'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord,
'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]
The Answer to the Struggle
Remember the old chorus?
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!
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man,
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!
My belief systems have a powerful effect on how I live. How I see myself is expressed in how I behave. If I see myself as a miserable sinner, I will constantly battle with sin; if, however, I believe I am a new creation, and the Righteous One lives in me, then I will see evidence of His life flowing out through me. (Not perfectly perhaps, because this transformation is a process—but a whole lot more productive than trying to obey an external list of dos and don’ts.) And on those occasions when I fail to let that righteousness well up from within, I have an advocate with the Father, and the promise of forgiveness… [1 John 1:9; 2:1,2].
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.
...(let's) be made new in the attitude of (our) minds; and.... put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
We have seen that our words hold the power of life and death, (see 'When it's Good to Change your Mind', Week 1). Why not declare the Bible-truths in 'This Week's Grace Rhythm' section (see below) over yourself, or explore more of the Blessing of His Righteousness by clicking on this link, which will take you to 30 days of reflections.
Ultimately, it's all about Him...
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?
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
NEXT WEEK: WHEN LIFE IS DIFFICULT (CONTINUING A LOOK AT PSALM 23)
Because we live in a fallen world, whether we like it or not, our journeys are strewn with difficulties; the enemy of our souls having one purpose alone: to bring destruction. Sometimes these shadows in our lives are merely minor irritations, other times they are the stuff of nightmares...
PASS IT ON
[Photo credits: Tyler Scheviak (Alpine path); Fuu J (girl on beach); Allec Gomes (matches) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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