“I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
I almost titled this devotional What Makes You Righteous in God’s Eyes? but that sounded a little religious. So I swapped the word righteous for good enough, because really, that’s all righteousness is: being settled-up with God, or, in good standing.
So just what is it that makes you righteous? This question can either ruin your life by making you become bitter, frustrated, self-righteous, angry, or scared–or–the truth about your righteousness with God can set you free!
Why has it become so difficult to get the truth of our righteousness down pat? Simple, it’s because of the twisting of the truth by those who don’t know the truth. The people who think they are more righteous because of their church work and attendance, tithing, Scripture memorization, and lack of outward sins.
When you lie about the gospel by saying there are different levels of righteousness, lives can be destroyed. Many denominations teach that some people are more holy than others. This is demonic to say the least. The devil loves this because it does two things:
- Those who think they’re doing something (or not doing something) to be more holy will look down on others and belittle/incorrectly justify their own poor choices and mindsets.
- Those who think they’re not as holy will strive to work their way into holiness or give up altogether because they’ve tried so hard yet could never do it right according to the opinion of the “holier” people.
This started hundreds of years ago, not just recently. Just because a denomination is old that doesn’t mean it wasn’t birthed from the pits of hell. Old does not equal truth. The truth is, every Christian is equally holy and righteous (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). If this upsets a person because they’ve poured years into their “righteous” identity, then they should take this up with God before it’s too late (see Matthew 7:21-23).
To be clear, I’m referring to our identity. I’m talking about who we are as children of God (see 1 John 3:1). I’m not talking about behavior. Yes, behavior is important–behavior matters for a couple reasons. First, it matters because people can’t see our faith, they can only see our behavior. Second, proper behavior is organic as a saint. It just makes sense to have good behavior because our spirits are ready for heaven. But–behavior cannot change identity! Identity can change behavior, but behavior cannot change who you are!
Here are some tips that I believe will help you when it comes to dealing with those who find their identity in what they do rather than who God has made them to be. Friend, learn from my mistakes and don’t attack them. You’ll regret it even if they are wrong. Instead, show them grace. You can never go wrong by showing grace:
- Try to remember they’ve not earned anything. Jesus has already earned for us what we could never earn on our own–righteousness. After He earned it for us, He handed it over as a gift. So enjoy it! Don’t be in competition-mode with other saints! You are equally righteous and on the same team!
- Only grace by faith in Jesus has made us righteous. This fact will empower you to do more for God because you know who you are, and you know how you became who you are. Grace! Grace was the basis of establishing your righteousness, and grace is the basis of your everything else! Stay focused on grace because it will teach you the deepest levels of your identity, as well as help you live out a life of godliness! (See Titus 2:11-12).
- Stop being afraid of God. Those who don’t understand the New Covenant will want you to stay in a state of godly fear. And sure, we all start out being afraid of God–that’s a healthy thing. Our Creator has the ability to do whatever He wants. However, once we become His child, the fear of God should not be the basis of anything we do or don’t do. Why? Because fear has to do with punishment, punishment comes from sin, and Jesus has taken away our sin by being punished on our behalf. So don’t be afraid! (See 1 John 4:18, Romans 5:1,9, John 1:29).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, today I want to thank you for my righteousness. It took me a long time to realize who I truly was and what Jesus had done to me! He killed off my unrighteous spirit and gave me a new, righteous spirit! I’m forever grateful! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Dad, so many of them are confused. They’ve been taught that they are righteous, but only when they live that way. Reveal the truth! As a believer in Christ, let them know they are righteous in full this very second! What they do or don’t do cannot change or modify their heaven-ready spirits! Your promise to Jesus, and His to you, won’t allow it! How they live their lives has no bearing on who they are! Once they have the revelation of this truth, only then will they live properly–and for the right reason–because they KNOW who they are! Open up the eyes of their minds to match up with the eyes of their righteous hearts! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!