(Ecclesiastes 7:20 Message Bible) There’s not one totally good person on earth, Not one who is truly pure and sinless.
No matter how hard one tries to be righteous, Romans 3:10 tells us, ‚ÄúThere is none righteous, no, not one.‚ÄĚ Isaiah 64:6 even goes so far as to say that ‚Äúall our righteousness are as filthy rags.‚ÄĚ When you stop and think about this you may even wonder‚Ä¶why bother to try if your righteousness is no better than ‚Äúfilthy rags.‚ÄĚ
Apparently we have a different view of righteousness than the Lord has. Our view of righteousness often has to do with all the things we avoid doing. Whereas the Lord‚Äôs view of righteous has to do with what He did for us that we could not do for ourselves. This concept puts a different slant on righteousness.
There is something in mankind that makes him prone to base his righteousness on the ‚Äúlaw of do‚Äôs and don‚Äôts.‚ÄĚ No matter how much he understands the effect of the cross he still wants to help God out by his good works.
The interesting thing in most cases is that man is not even aware of his religious actions. According to Matthew 23:5, he just wraps his ‚Äúrighteous robes‚ÄĚ around himself and ‚Äúbroadens the phylacteries‚ÄĚ on his forehead. For those who are not familiar with the term ‚Äúphylacteries‚ÄĚ‚Ä¶it is a little box full of scriptures that the Pharisees tied to their foreheads.
As a young preacher, I had an experience that still remains fresh in my mind today. There was probably no one who tried harder to live a more disciplined life before the Lord than me. I was a part of a holiness denomination that had a long list of things you must avoid doing if you were going to be holy. I followed that list to the letter of the law as far as I knew. My desire was do everything in my power to fulfill Romans 12:1 where it says ‚ÄúI beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.‚ÄĚ
One day while having coffee with a good friend, he told me how much he and his wife appreciated me. He said I had always been there for them when they needed prayer and counsel. However, he proceeded to tell me that he was somewhat perplexed as to why I did not think as much of our friendship as they did. He said we have always told you all of our problems and you have never told us any of yours. He then followed that with the statement that still rings in my ears to this day and that is, ‚ÄúYou are not all that good.‚ÄĚ
My loving the Lord was never in question but perhaps my ‚ÄėHoliness List‚Äô was. Perhaps my friend understood the above scriptures more than I realized.
It has been many years since that day at the coffee shop with my friend, but our conversation is as fresh in my mind as if it happened this morning.
I am sure I never had a ‚ÄúPhariseeistic attitude‚ÄĚ with a ‚Äúphylactery‚ÄĚ on my forehead, but if that was what came across to my friend then it was a reminder to me to be aware of a self-righteous spirit. After all ‚ÄúThere is none righteous, no, not one.‚ÄĚ
My prayer is for those who try hard to be righteous and to walk in Your favor. Help all of us Lord to relax and enjoy the journey in life as we follow You. Thank you Lord for what You did for us that we could not do for ourselves.
Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries