Friday, February 19, 2010

Self Righteous or God Righteous?

In my study and reflection on God's righteousness, I understand that "being righteous" does not mean living by the law or your good deeds, it is by being obedient to God. Self righteousness is an attitude of hypocrisy that is hard to see in ourselves. But God is opening my eyes! It is a trait that I am earnestly working on in my life right now, and in fact is my mission statement. In the past my motives have certainly reflected this attitude! When I do good works, favors, or share my gifts, I desire appreciation, honor, and reciprocation. Or when I hurt someone by my words or actions, rather than apologizing and asking for forgiveness I try to justify my actions to myself and God, and go back to the individual with kind words and often humor to make atonement in our relationship.

"This is a self-portrait. Have you seen yourself? If not, maybe you have not asked God to show you what He sees. It is not a pretty sight. But He is compassionate and merciful, and gives us a way out through His cleansing blood. Do not try to whitewash your sins with words; do not try to put the blame on someone else. Own your own sin. This is the one way you can be cleansed of it. Self righteous is one of the most difficult sins to recognize since it is a matter of attitude rather than action. It is complacency in it's worse form because it involves regarding ourselves as more virtuous than others despite the reality of a deficient spiritual condition."  (from

Good deeds do not qualify men for greatness in the kingdom of God. Our good deeds and accomplishments as humans on earth do not make us righteous. We tend to want approval and acknowledgment for our gifts, good qualities, and successfulness. We tend to boast and believe we are the one's God will bless. Self righteous people are the hardest people in the world to reach! Ouch; is that me?!

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by it's deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

"The standard of righteousness has never been anything less than moral perfection, which no mere mortal can ever achieve. Therefore, our only hope is to be declared righteous by the gracious gift of God. We receive this gift through faith in Jesus Christ, who took our punishment on our behalf, thus satisfying the heavenly court's requirement that justice be served." (Swindoll)

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord , for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, 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." (Philippians 3:8-9) 

With love, honor, and respect for God, I pray I will present my love and gifts with an attitude of "God Righteousness" instead of "Self Righteousness", and put aside in thoughtful prayer, all my hurt feelings from lack of human recognition.   

"Salvation is not a reward for good behavior. Instead, salvation is:
  • a transfer of righteousness from Jesus Christ's account to ours
  • a gift of grace motivated by God's goodness, not ours
  • a display of God's love for us, not ours for Him" (Swindoll)

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