Gracefully Truthful

Adoration,Confession,Excuses,Faith,Grace,Humility

Read His Words Before Ours!

Jonah 3
Jonah 4
1 Peter 3:1-4
Philippians 3:7-12

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word they may be won over by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes [. . . ].” (1 Peter 3:1-3)

When considering this portion of Scripture, I had always thought I fulfilled it. As far as I was concerned, I was submissive to my husband since I don’t exchange words with him as other women do or try to compete with him in any way. When it comes to dressing, I try as much as possible not to be flamboyant. As such, I considered myself righteous, qualified by this text; any wife I see dressed beyond my boundaries is labeled worldly, and her level of spirituality questioned.

But then, I ignored the completion of the passage, which says, “[. . .] but rather what is inside the heart, the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:4

A gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight! 

I kept pondering over this phrase until one day, it dawned on me: God is much more interested in our hearts than our physical appearances or style of dress.

In the Christian journey, sometimes we get carried away thinking because we’ve done some good things, we deserve the best from God; we are the most righteous. 

We might pile up our “Christian accomplishments” like stones in a monument . . .
head-knowledge of His word, 
charitable activities, 
and some awful sins in which we don’t indulge. 
(Our sins, we might tell ourselves, are really very minor compared to the sins of others!)

Suddenly, the monument we’ve created is an idol of our own self-righteousness

About 20 years ago, God caught me in my self-righteousness. In my office, it is our practice to spend some minutes in the word and pray before we start the day’s work. The lady sharing the word with us that day happened to be a divorcee, and I wondered why she was given the opportunity to share Scripture; as far as I was concerned, she was not righteous enough. While she was telling us the portion we were going to read, my mind was busy judging her. 

Suddenly my Bible, on its own, fell open to Romans 14:10
But you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” 

I felt as if someone poured cold water on me; I froze before God. I had never experienced such a thing in my life before; this marked a turn-around in my life.

This idol of self-righteousness is subtle and dangerous; we can easily slip into it and still feel we are passionately following the Lord. It is a monster in our minds applauding the good things we think we can do, making us feel spiritually arrogant. Like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, we begin to list the good things we do for the Lord and expect a better treatment from God than others. (Luke 18:9-14) Sometimes we are even tempted to think some people are too sinful to be reached with the gospel; we feel they deserve to die in their sins. Like Jonah, a prophet God sent to call a wicked nation to repentance, we think they are not qualified for God’s mercy. (Jonah 34)

Jesus’ attitude of truth and grace with humility should be our guide. When addressed as “Good teacher,” He responded, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) I think Jesus said this to help us understand humans cannot be any good on their own before God. Having come in human form, He refused to be called good even when there was no sin found in Him. What humility!

Apostle Paul, who shared the gospel and pioneered the early Church, enjoined the Romans to follow his example, as he was following Christ’s example. Paul said, “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)

This reminds us that we must humble ourselves before God, seeking to bring glory to Him rather than ourselves. Like Christ, who emptied Himself of His glory, taking the form of man and dying a shameful death on the cross, we must empty ourselves and allow God’s grace to flow through us. (Philippians 2:7-11

When we see ourselves as products of grace, we have no room to brag of any self-righteousness. Viewing ourselves through the lenses of grace makes us see how unworthy we are before God, except for the righteousness imputed to us by Christ.

Having seen that we are vulnerable to falling into the arrogance of self-righteousness, let us heed the call in Hebrews 4:16 and “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.

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Gloria
Gloria
3 months ago

This is timely for me. God is the ultimate judge. Thanks for sharing Ma.

Mandy
Mandy
4 months ago

Such good words to remind us how easy it is to fall into self-righteousness and create a monument of our accomplishments. To think that we are above all others is falling into judging others. God alone is judge.
Thank you.

Rebecca Adams
Admin
3 months ago
Reply to  Mandy

“a monument of our accomplishments”
Well worded, my friend, thank you for sharing this picture that will stick with me!

Tags :
arrogance,Confession,forgiveness,humility,idolatry,Sin
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