What Makes You Good Enough For God?
“…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 is a question that can either ruin your life, make 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 100% righteousness down pat? Simple: Because of the twisting of the truth by those who don’t know the truth. The Christians who think they are more righteous because of their church works, Scripture memorization, and lack of sins of the flesh.
These types of Christians destroy lives, rather than heal them. They condemn others, rather than care for them. They antagonize, rather than evangelize. I was affected severely by this brand of “Christianity.” When I was looking for the unconditional love of Jesus, I didn’t get that. Instead, I got conditional love from those who didn’t know Jesus on a personal level–all they knew was religion.
Why would I say that? Because if they did know Jesus intimately, they would treat others differently. They are sin-focused and works-based, rather than being full of grace as they should be. They might have a dash of grace, but when you only having a small amount of grace, you can’t even taste it; a flavorless gospel ensues.
Jesus said we should be salt (see Matthew 5:13). And what does salt do? It gives flavor, and it preserves. That’s not happening as much as it should be, in the Body of Christ.
So many Christians like to judge others harshly, no matter if they are a Christian or not; they are hyper-critical and call grace “cheap.” When really, grace is not cheap at all. It is the most expensive thing ever–for Jesus, not us. For us, it’s completely free. And this grace doesn’t just save us, it also empowers us each day to allow Christ to live through us.
I used to have a lot of hate in my soul towards religious Christians, those who honestly believe that what they do, or don’t do, makes them righteous. Even typing that, my blood pressure goes up just a tad. It’s a sore spot for me in my soul that Jesus is still healing day by day. I’m not there completely, but I’m soooooooo much better than I used to be. Just like the urge to drink, the Holy Spirit has taught me to be conscious of this feeling of resentment, and to bring it to Him immediately.
And I guess I’m like this because I’ve been so hurt by “church people” who thought they were righteous. These people attempted to make me feel like I wasn’t righteous–“like them”–when really, they were only self-righteous. My dad, for example, has allowed self-righteous people in the church to ruin his relationship with God when it comes to being involved with an actual church. It’s just not important to him.
Sure, Dad’s a Christian and he loves God, but his pride towards those in church has kept him from being involved at church. I mimicked this for a long time, and I finally had to come to the realization that just because Dad is like this, doesn’t mean I have to be. I want to go to church. Yes, I am The Church, because of my faith in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:19)–but I still want to go and gather with others weekly to learn and praise God corporately. IT IS GOOD!
What Dad has allowed to fester, and keep him where he’s at, I’ve battled with the help of Christ in me:
- Bless those who curse you (Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14)
- Pray for those who hate you (Matthew 5:44)
- Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)
We cannot allow the devil to make me hate people, no matter if they hate us or not. It’s like the Will Smith song, Just The Two of Us, “…hate in your heart will consume you too.”
So try your very best to remember that what others do or don’t do doesn’t make them righteous, or unrighteous. Our righteousness is free, and it has been free from day one of our belief! And it does not come in increments.
So who is righteous? Anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus. Period.
Like Dad, I wanted to shut off the church world and just have my own little one-on-one relationship with Jesus, but the Holy Spirit quickly corrected that–although at first I fought it.
I am NOT allowed to have disdain in my heart for anyone! Believers, or not! Christ owns all the real estate in my heart, so the very moment I feel ill feelings or harsh judgment towards anyone for anything, I have to consciously allow Him to correct that. If I don’t, I’ll live a sorry, blameful, bitter, fruitless life.
Here are some tips that I believe will help you when it comes to dealing with self-righteous people. Learn from my mistakes and don’t be like me–don’t attack them. You’ll regret it even if they are wrong. Instead, begin to think of them with love, just like Jesus does for you:
- TRY TO REMEMBER THEY’VE NOT EARNED A THING. This was difficult for me in the beginning of wanting to really have some fruit in my life for Jesus. I’m very aggressive and overly-competitive. I want to win at everything–which has been a blessing for me at times, and other times, a cursing (when it’s out of balance). So when I saw what other Christians were doing, I wanted to compete with their works. This is wrong. We don’t compete, we are on the same team! TEAM JESUS! And, all we have is 100% free! It can’t be competed for–or won, or lost! It doesn’t matter if someone’s been doing stuff for Jesus for 5 days, or 50 years, all we have is free. Free. Free. Free. WE’VE NOT EARNED ANYTHING. WE CAN’T EARN ANYTHING FROM GOD. Jesus already earned it all. Now, enjoy it, and grow fruit! Fruit that will last! (see John 15:16).
- FAITH IN JESUS IS OUR ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS. This statement will upset the religious Christians. If you have a religious spirit that normally pesters you, you’ll probably judge me harshly for saying this–or you won’t fully believe it. The self-righteous believers who look at what they do (or refuse to do) “for” Jesus, as their identity (rather than their faith in Him alone) will absolutely hate this. Why? Because they find their identity in THEMSELVES doing stuff FOR God. Here’s a rule of thumb that will help you overcome this Pharisaical nastiness: When you feel yourself being pressured to do something, or not do something, in order to stay in good standing with God, let that be a red flag to take a step back and remember only your belief in Jesus is your good standing. This fact will empower you to do more for God, as well as remove any sinful actions of the flesh or soul. This amazing power comes from understanding your full value of your identity in Christ alone.
- STOP BEING AFRAID OF GOD. The fear of God is a major weapon of control and manipulation that the religious Christians use. And sure, the Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom” (see Proverbs 9:10)–THE BEGINNING–not the end, and not the middle. We all start out by understanding that God is really big, that He has standards we should gracefully strive for each day, and sure, we need to get on His side. And it is our faith in Jesus which does this–not anything we do or don’t do (see Ephesians 2:8,9). After that belief originates (once we accept Christ’s forgiveness of our sin) we need to STOP being afraid of God! You can’t enjoy a relationship with someone whom you fear because you won’t really love them. This is why John said, “there is no fear in love, God is love, God’s love for you is perfect, and perfect love casts out all fear” (see 1 John 4). Fear has to do with punishment, and because of Jesus we aren’t’ going to be eternally punished. This is good news! GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU IS PERFECT! HE LOVED YOU EVEN BEFORE HE FORMED THIS PLANET! JESUS’ LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION PROVES THIS! Simply ignore the scare tactics of others and enjoy Him!
So today, my friends, know this: You are good enough for God if you’ve accepted Christ’s forgiveness by simply believing. “But Matt, what about–” NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! Stop paying so much attention to what you’ve been taught is wrong, and start paying attention to who is right–which is YOU, right now, today, this very moment…because of Christ in you! ENJOY!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, I just gotta thank you for the seasons of blessings in my life, you are so good to me. The pain that I’ve gone through has produced wonderful, ripe fruit! THANK YOU! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have had their lives destroyed by cold, legalistic religion, help them. I’m asking that you supernaturally wipe the slate clean in their souls! If you could JUST get them to understand WHO they really are–their true identity in Christ’s finished work–then they would begin to love themselves, love you, and love others properly! HELP THEM TO DO THIS TODAY! GIVE THEM PEACE, COMFORT, CONFIDENCE, AND A SOUND MIND! In Christ’s holy name I pray, amen.
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