Very good. Excellent. Virtuous. Upstanding. Worthy. Faultless. Irreproachable. Pure. Sinless. God-fearing. Saintly. These are some of the synonyms associated with the word, “Righteous”.
Unraveled. This is the word I would have chosen to describe myself today. A culmination of an incredible busy and emotionally challenging week, has come for its dues this evening. Which unfortunately, my family had to pay. The only one unscathed, is the bull-mastiff, but there are still a few hours before the day is over yet, so she should probably hide if she knows what is good for her.
Imagine my surprise, as I sat down to write this blog (still breathing in fifth gear after words with my other half), asking the Lord what he is speaking over me today, and hearing the word: “Righteous.”
I had all sorts of ideas for blogs about my identity in Christ. Some wonderful creative thoughts that I had already penned in my journal several days ago. I could have just winged it tonight. But I have set out to not just write what I think, but rather what I hear. In the moment…
“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].” – 2 Corinthians 5:21, AMPC (Emphasis added)
Jesus took all my failures, my mess-ups, my stinky attitude and shortcomings, my sin. He became all of my ugly when he hung on the cross. He did that, so that I could become the righteousness of God.
I am “what I ought to be”.
There are so many “ought to be’s” for parents and spouses. There are “ought to be’s” for Christians. Lists of rules about what to do, how to do it, when to do it. It can be quite demanding! Particularly when human capacity does not allow for saintly requirements.
Right now, just take a minute and remind yourself: I am what I ought to be. We are righteous because of what Jesus did for us, and not because we perform all our “ought to be’s” perfectly.
I am “approved and acceptable”.
Do you ever fill out those reviews when you have bought a product or service? How did we do today? Pick the sad face if “unsatisfactory”; ranging to the smiley face for “excellent”. I wonder how God would rate me based on today’s performance? The good news is, that his rating is always “approved and acceptable.”
I am not trying to excuse bad behavior. It’s not OK to take out your frustrations on the people around you. But I have also learned that when my behavior is out of control, there is usually a heart-issue behind it. There is something in my heart that is out of sync with the heart of the Father.
Actions are always the result of beliefs, and beliefs can be traced back to our thoughts. When we’re feeling bad about ourselves, guess what? Our behavior starts lining up with our thoughts. When I’m not feeling so “acceptable”, that is when I need to hear that I am, from the One who creates when He speaks.
I am “in right relationship with Him.”
I used to beat myself up all the time, thinking that my righteousness depended on my efforts to do my Christian duties. Surely righteousness require a devoted lifestyle of prayer, study, fasting, giving and serving? All these wonderful disciplines that should ensure my growth so I can be worthy of the price paid for me, right? But when I can’t tick all the boxes on the checklist, I hear those subtle little accusations from the enemy, saying: “You’re not doing well today, are you? You haven’t picked up your Bible. You didn’t go to church. No wonder you’re having a bad day…”
Righteousness is a gift. Disciplines do not empower it. We don’t “work” on our righteousness, but we do “work” on our relationship with God. It is in our reading, study, prayer and fasting that we discover the heart of the Father and cultivate our relationship with Him. But our righteousness is always in tact. It is not based on our performance.
As I sat down to write this blog, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me: “What are you working on? Are you working on your behavior? Or are you working on our relationship?” Selah.
When I try to fix myself, sort out my issues or problems in my own wisdom and strength, that is when I come off the rails. As I shift my focus back onto my relationship with my Father, I hear him say: “Chin up beautiful girl, you’ve got this! You are righteous because of Jesus. I am working in you, and I will perfect the work I started.”
“…by His goodness.”
My goodness is inconsequential. It cannot achieve anything for me. It is His goodness that makes any growth and development possible. It is His goodness that transforms and brings change. When I receive it.
There is no limit to what we can experience, when we allow His goodness into our hearts and minds. But it is not possible to open our hearts to it, when we feel unworthy. When we are constantly feeling bad about our shortcomings.
Today, I invite the goodness of the Father into my heart. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for sending Jesus to take all my sin, and for making me righteous. Thank you for taking away all my mistakes (even the awful ones I made today!) and for making me all that I ought to be. Acceptable. Approved. Thank you, that I am in right relationship with you.
I hear the Father gently call: “My righteous child, let go of all the mistakes you made, today and every day. It is finished. Look forward to learning more about the way that I see you: Faultless. Irreproachable. Virtuous. Excellent. Pure. Sin-less. Worthy. These are the thoughts I have towards you. These are the words I speak over you. I want nothing more, than being in relationship with you. Because I love you.” ❤