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Archive for February 10th, 2021

Self Righteousness

MEDITATION:

Written by Amy Carroll, a contemporary Christian author. This is an excerpt from her devotion “Being Right Doesn’t Mean I’m Righteous.”

God is filling me with a simple prayer: Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous. The word righteous means, “acting in accord with divine and moral law, free from guilt or sin” according to Webster. But being righteous and looking righteous are two different things. Looking righteous is something I’ve mastered. I know how to follow the rules, play the game and fit into the church crowd. Maybe you’re like me and are wired to work hard to get things done “right.” I like to please my peers and check items off my to-do list. Often it wins me the approval I crave. I get pats on the back, and it all looks good on the outside. But on the inside — in the quiet moments — I can find myself exhausted. Defeated. Numb. Those feelings let me know I’ve crossed from being righteous through Christ into trying to earn righteousness myself. Sometimes my self-righteousness leaks out and reveals its ugliness through judgmental thoughts and attitudes towards others. That’s when I find myself looking down my nose at those struggling while thinking I have it together or snapping with impatience when someone delays my next task. … To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others. The beautiful part is God doesn’t call us to love without Him setting the ultimate example. His love is “wide and long and high and deep” (Ephesians 3:18, NIV), and it surpasses our thoughts and the works done in our own strength. Pursuing righteousness solely through good works is an empty endeavor, always leaving us impossibly short of the goal. Returning to our first love ensures full righteousness as we follow Jesus, for He is our righteousness… True righteousness creates more love for God and others. It’s a beautiful cycle, and it’s a goal that transforms us.

PRAYER:

John Chrysostom (AD 347-407), theologian and archbishop of Constantinople.

O my all-merciful God and Lord, Jesus Christ, full of pity: through Your great love You came down and became incarnate in order to save everyone. O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace! If You save anyone because of their works, that would not be grace but only reward of duty, but You are compassionate and full of mercy! You said, O my Christ, “Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.” If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me, O my God and Creator, for I believe. Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God, for You will find no works which could account me righteous. O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin, and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one. I promise that I will work to do Your will, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forevermore.

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