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Romans 10: 3

For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

I’ve saved this message for the end so that in this final devotion we can see the encapsulation of Jesus’ message on righteousness and, therefore, be more able to integrate the truth of his teaching into our thoughts, hearts and practices.

I said last week that righteousness and holiness are not the same thing though they are often treated as synonyms. The actual translation of righteousness is “as it should be.” My esteemed friend, Chuck Goldberg, brought this out in our conversation on righteousness. He was saying that righteousness is nothing more, or less, than just being in our “right” place with Christ. It is allowing our lives, actions, etc. to just be as they should be. When we follow Christ and follow his teachings, things line up, and isn’t that “as it should be.”

It makes perfect sense once you can wrap your head around it. If we wish to be righteous, if we wish to practice righteousness, we only need let things align as they rightfully should. We don’t need a mallet to drive the proverbial square peg into the round hole of our existence. It is not a matter of force or will power. It is the simple BEING with Christ in his holiness. We need to relax in his presence and just follow. Unrighteousness is more often a product of our will and our mental constructs. When we try to be holy in our own strength and according to our perceptions of righteousness, we are most likely to go astray, finding ourselves in works of the flesh rather than righteousness.

In a sense, righteousness is simple, perhaps not easy always, but simple because in its most basic iteration, it is just following in Jesus’ footsteps. We don’t need to figure out much. Just put your foot where Jesus trod. Do what he did. Learn of him. Let his teachings be your path and guide.

We get ourselves in trouble when we try to make righteousness into a spiritual ritual when it is actually living and walking with Jesus. Being right is just Being with Jesus. We have created religious monuments of rites, rituals, and services. We have built mountainous doctrines in our attempts to be righteous which is amazing when we discover how simple Jesus made it.

Self-righteousness is always hard. In fact, it is impossible for us to be righteous. That is one of the reasons we needed Jesus. He just is righteous. Therefore, we only need hide ourselves in him, become intertwined with him. It was this ideal which inspired the Ivey Ministries logo. Maybe the logo can inspire you and be a reminder of the kind of relationship Jesus wants with you. The more you two intertwine, the more you will find “rightness” isn’t so farfetched an idea. Rightness (righteousness) is just being with Jesus and allowing him to influence our way of Being. Be with him, in him and be “right” with God.

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