Righteousness God’s Way
The last few days have been distinctively challenging for me, and I’ve felt so far away from my destiny or what I believe my destiny to be. It seems like every time I take a step forward something happens that drags me back further than where I was before I could even make the last step.
A few days ago, after I had committed to letting go and giving all my concerns and frustrations to God, I completely lost track of that commitment and fell into one of my old traps, impatience and pride. I lost my cool with my oldest daughter and said some startlingly horrible things, things that I used to say before I rededicated my life to Christ but not now.
In the days that followed, the spiritual beat down came in like a tsunami wiping out the world that I had come to know as my life. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall in recent years feeling worse than I did during this time.
Of course thoughts such as “and you think you can minister to people” screamed out in my mind, I wanted right then to detract from given purpose and look to pursue more worldly intentions. I know that not what I’m supposed to do, and I’m certain that God would intervene to discourage me from quitting but don’t we all at some point feel that we aren’t cut out for God’s plan for us. I hope I’m not alone on this one, what an awkward position that would be.
I was listening to my Bible this morning when the story of Jesus in Luke 5:8 and 10, after Jesus was done preaching to the crowds he tells Simon Peter to go and cast his nets into the water, and when they did as Jesus instructed they brought in a record number of fish. Then Simon Peter realizes who Jesus really was and the verse says:
“When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!””
Simon Peter recognized only one thing, he was a sinner and didn’t deserve to even be in the presence of Jesus and yet Jesus didn’t condemn him but instead promoted him to the ministry of fishers of men.
So, Jesus the one who had every right to call out Simon Peter as a sinner chose not to, and then it was clear to me that God never chooses the ones that feel righteous because then their pride would get in the way of hearing God, instead he chooses people who know they don’t deserve God’s righteousness because they will rely on God’s direction to lead them.
Although it’s true that losing my temper wasn’t the right thing to do and I felt as if I had lost my right standing before God, He has said that I’m not righteous for any other reason than Jesus. Jesus was made a sacrifice and when he willingly crawled onto that cross to die, He did it so that when I lose my temper, I don’t lose my righteousness because he knew that just like Simon Peter I and maybe you too, don’t deserve His forgiveness and certainly not His righteousness. That’s why he made His righteousness a gift and not a requirement.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
The good news is, it isn’t our ability to avoid mistakes or to never sin that gives us right standing with God, but it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that does. He came to deliver us from the punishment of sin and remove the curse of the law. It’s in that where I take comfort knowing that although I don’t want to do the wrong things, if I do I’ve already been forgiven and can stay on track to fulfilling my purpose.
All I can say is that I know that God loves me because He sent His son to take my place and the only tragedy would be if I failed to realize that His sacrifice was all that was needed to save me from the punishment of my sins.
My only prayer is that you know it too.