Posts Tagged ‘Righteousness


Your New Best Friend

Whether you came to Christ early or later in life, you probably had some wild days in your past. You may have had a group of friends with whom you used to hang around, but do so no longer. You may have lived the party lifestyle with them that doesn’t seem all that appealing to you now. They wonder what happened to you. What happened to all of the good times you used to have. Why are you such a goody two-shoes? What are you? Are you some kind of Jesus freak? Peter says to not be surprised when people slander you for the change that has taken place in your life. He wrote in 1 Peter 4:4-5 (NLT):

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead.

We say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones…,” but names do hurt. When people make fun of us or persecute us for our faith, it hurts. Don’t forget that God has the final say. We will all stand before Him in judgment. Don’t walk away from your faith because your former friends don’t like your new best friend, Jesus.


Enough Is Enough

Think back to the time before Christ entered into your life. How did you used to live before you knew God? Maybe you were a pretty good person. Maybe you were not. Perhaps you had some friends who led you down some wrong paths. Maybe there were some bad influences in your life. It could have been a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It might have been some high school or college buddies. Then, someone introduced you to Jesus and things began to change. You began to change. You said, “Enough is enough.” This is what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:3 (NLT):

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

You may still feel the pull of that former way of life. Temptation may rear its ugly head at times and you long to go back to the way you used to live. Don’t do it! You’re done with those ways. You’re on a new path now that leads to life instead of the road that leads to eternal destruction. Don’t compromise your faith in Christ for the momentary rush of sin. It may feel good for a moment, but in the long run you’ll feel guilty and full of shame. But know this: Christ died for all of your sins and to take away your shame. If you fall short and back into a former way of life, it is covered by Calvary. There’s a new day ahead and a second chance is waiting for you. Jesus still loves you.


Slaves Who Are Free

Jesus died to set us free. We are free from the consequences of sin. We are free from religion that says you have to earn your way to God. We are free from fear that God is out to get us. We are free from rules based religion. We are free to experience radical love and grace. Peter, though, says that we are slaves to God. He wrote in 1 Peter 2:16 (NLT):
For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
We are not free to sin willy-nilly as though Christ died for nothing. Our sins cost Jesus His life. He willingly went to the cross to lay down His life for our forgiveness and freedom. He purchased us from slavery to sin and darkness. Now we are slaves to God. We submit to Him. We serve Him. We obey Him. God is not a stern taskmaster who punishes us. Rather, He is good and kind and He has our best interests at heart. He is our Creator and our Father. He knows what is best and desires it for us. His love protects us and shelters us. Knowing that God is always good, why would we live for anyone or anything else?

Everything Must Go!

Have you ever seen a store have a going out of business sale? What do they say? Everything must go! Sometimes a family will have a moving sale because they’re leaving one place and moving to another across the country. Everything must go!
The apostle Peter, reflecting on what it means to be born again, said that everything from our old way of life must go. 1 Peter 2:1 (NLT) says:

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

As followers of Jesus, everything evil must go. He lists four types of evil behavior that we are to be done with. He says to be done with deceit, which is dishonesty. We shouldn’t lie, but rather we should always speak the truth in love. We need to be done with hypocrisy. We should stop pretending to be something that we’re not. We need to be done with jealousy. Instead of wanting what others have, we should be content with what God has blessed us with. We need to be done with unkind speech. Oh be careful little mouth what you say. Is the content of your speech kind and encouraging? Or are you tearing others down with your words. For followers of Christ who have been born again, we need to do away with evil behavior of every kind. Everything must go.


Skin Deep Righteousness

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the Law of Moses and He expounds on it. It can be easy to fall into a trap of skin deep righteousness. This trap says that you’re on the right track because you look spiritual on the outside, but in reality are far from God in your heart. Jesus said:

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:19-20 (NIV)

The Pharisees looked really good because they put on an outward religious show. They thought that they were better than everyone else because they outwardly obeyed the Law to the nth degree. Inwardly, though, they were far from God because they didn’t obey God because they loved Him. They loved the applause of people. Do a heart check today. Do you obey God because you love Him or because you want to impress people with how spiritual you appear?

The Blessing Of Persecution

In Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” He begins with several “Beatitudes” that describe what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like. It begins with understanding the depth of one’s spiritual poverty and moves through a growing understanding of God’s purpose for their life. When you want the things of God’s Kingdom, you’ll become more of a Kingdom-minded person. Jesus says that this person is “blessed,” which means, “happy.” He concludes the “Beatitudes” by talking about being persecuted. He says:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

When you live for the Kingdom of God, it means that you are no longer living for the kingdom of this world. You’ll live differently than you did before. You’ll act differently, talk differently and think differently. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You may be persecuted for your faith. Jesus says that you are blessed when you are persecuted because you’ll know that you truly belong to Him. Persecution isn’t a possibility, it is a guarantee. When you live for Jesus, you become a threat and persecution becomes a reality. Stand firm in your faith because Heaven is the reward.

Hungry For God

When you begin your journey of faith, you start by realizing the depths of your spiritual poverty. You know that there is nothing good in you. You mourn and weep over your sinful condition. You humbly come before God for forgiveness. Once you acknowledge your brokenness and your propensity for doing the wrong things, you begin to desire the right things. Jesus said:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

If your deepest desire is to be made right with God, God will satisfy that desire in a way that only He can. You cannot earn His favor or grace by your righteous deeds. You have to want to be made right with Him by His grace through faith in Jesus. When you want that kind of relationship, God will give you that kind of relationship. It’s a loving relationship that satisfies like no other. If you’re hungry and thirsty for God, He alone will fill your every longing.

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