Righteous, it is a big word, one that I fall short of on my own. It is an unattainable goal that leaves me disappointed when I think about stepping out for God. I have this idea that I have to be righteous for God to use me; despite scripture saying, “It is written ‘“None is righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10). My disappointment grows because while I can’t attain righteousness, I believe that there are assignments that God wants me to complete, but I don’t feel like I can because I am not righteous enough. It is a vicious cycle that keeps me from stepping out.
I realize that my disappointment starts because I am focused on “my own” righteousness, or lack there of. I start to think when I am doing certain things that I can approach God. I have a crazy list, even if not written. I allow myself to believe if I am doing those things, that God likes me. When God likes me, He will use me. My list includes things like; when I spend time in His Word, pray, tithe, attend church, help others then God is pleased me with. It is a work’s mentality that is a lie from the pit of hell.
On the flip side of the coin, I have had times where I thought once I stop doing certain things that I will somehow be right with God. In the early days of my walk with God, it was filled with when I stop drinking, smoking, cussing, etc., that then I could go to God. When I stopped doing those things, then I found myself disappointed again. I realized my anger, my judgmental spirit, my selfishness, and pride were things that God didn’t like. I was back in the same boat feeling like I would never be good enough to approach God or step out into the things that He was calling me to do. If I couldn’t be righteous, I couldn’t be used. Another lie from the enemy to keep me from stepping out.
I realized I couldn’t win. No mater how much good I did or how much bad things I didn’t do, I never felt like it was enough. This scripture put thing into perspective though. When I really allowed myself to understand that righteousness is not something that I can obtain by doing good things, or even not doing bad things.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 KJV
Filthy rags, understand this is not like the dirty towel you wiped up a mess with. This is talking about a rag used to help with a woman’s monthly cycle. In the Old Testament they didn’t have the handy disposable packages that soak and keep messy fluids in. It is a gross picture; I understand. Yet one I needed to wrap my mind around. This is the righteousness that I can produce; it is filthy rags to the Lord. It is unclean. It keeps me separated from God. I can not change that.
There is no righteous deed I can produce that will allow me to bridge the gap between me and God. Nothing I can do. Noting I can stop doing. I have to settle righteousness in my mind if I am ever going to step out into the things that God created me for me to do. So since there is nothing that I can do, I can let go of the lie that I need to do more. I can let go of the lie that I have to stop doing things before I can fulfill the call God has placed on my life.
But I also know that God has called us to be righteous. There is so much in the Word about walking in righteousness. So how do I reconcile my mind to know I can’t produce righteousness, but I need to walk in righteousness? I go back to the scripture and realize that it another amazing gift from God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
His Son, Jesus Christ became sin, that I might become the righteousness of God. It is by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ that righteousness comes. We live righteous by faith (Romans 1:17 , Galatians 3:11). Faith is counted to us as righteousness (Romans 4:5)
I do not have to walk in disappointment that I can not obtain righteousness in my own strength. It is a gift of God that I receive by faith, appropriated to me by the work of Christ. I have to know that God will bless His plan. Where God has given me a vision to act, He will provide the provision of resources and skills necessary to complete it. God does not set me up to fail. God doesn’t show me what He would like me to do, and then list all the reasons I can’t. His word says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” If He has given it to me to do, I just have to step out and do it. I won’t be disappointed!
This post is part of a 28 days series on Stepping Out inspired by the #Write28Days Blogging Challenge by Anita Ojeda.