Posted 09 Jul 2014
When I read the word “righteous” in the Bible, in reference to how we live… or OUGHT to live, I find myself feeling very inadequate. I often think that I have failed the Lord; I simply haven’t lived a perfect life. I haven’t been righteous.
What is righteous?
Defined: (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous.
When I reflect on my life, even my recent life, there’s no way I can claim to be righteous!
This less-than-perfect life I have lived has troubled me, but I read something in the notes of my Bible the other day which has REALLY helped me… & hopefully you too, if you have struggled with this as well.
I was reading the book of Habakkuk, which says:
“The righteous shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Habakkuk 2:4).
Immediately I thought, “well, I wish I was more faithful to God!” Then I read this in the notes:
“Faithfulness is steadfastness & trustworthiness. The “righteous” are not morally perfect but PERSISTENTLY FAITHFUL, even amid perils & perplexity.”
[Source: NIV Disciple’s Study Bible]
What struck me was the duel idea that:
1) we are not being defined by the Lord as “righteous” because we have already lived morally perfect lives (no-one but Jesus has ever done that!), &
2) we are called to be PERSISTENTLY FAITHFUL towards God (& other people, & ourselves). The idea of being habitually, determinedly faithful is one of attitude, rather than a reflection of the results we have achieved.
In “PERSISTENTLY FAITHFUL, even amid perils & perplexity”, there is the sense of CHOICE: choosing to live that way towards God. Choosing to trust & remain faithful, come what may.
I like the words “faithfulness”, “steadfastness” & “trustworthiness” – these are attitudes that we can establish. When we are next tempted to do the wrong thing, if we think of these things, & WHO we want to be “faithful”, “steadfast” & “trustworthy” TOWARDS (ie God) then we stand a much better chance of doing so.
We are accused.
There is an accuser (Satan) who also reminds me/us almost constantly that we haven’t lived the life we “ought” to have. It is this enemy who seeks to “bring us down”, by reminding us of our less-than-perfect life record.
The good news: We are defended.
Yes, we ARE accused by the Devil. But PRAISE GOD that God doesn’t leave us defenceless! We have the Holy Spirit within us to remind us, & the Bible to inform us of the truth: whilst it is true that we are not morally perfect, nevertheless, the finished work of Jesus upon the cross removes all of our sin. My/our less-than-perfect life record can not stand in the way of Jesus’ redeeming us all from the sins of our past lives.
I/we may not always perform perfectly; we may have made mistakes in our past. We may well make mistakes in the future, but ALL of our sin (wrong-doing) is taken & removed from us, when we repent & confess that error to God. And… “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ANIV) …
… Couldn’t have put it better myself!
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