I keep bumping into this word, "righteousness," in my Bible reading, in my daily wanderings. Help me to sort out what you are trying to tell me.
I have to admit, God, "righteousness" rankles me a bit because of its current connotation. This word is used differently now. Abused. Righteousness has a connotation of lording personal wisdom and good works over others. It is condescending. Judging.
Gracious God, I don't want to lord my goodness (what little there is of it) over others. You are the only Lord, the Lord of all. And your goodness supersedes my feeble attempts!
Through Jesus you show us again and again that righteousness isn't about lording judgments over others. It's about loving others for the goodness inherent in them.
Righteousness isn't high and mighty. It is humble. It isn't leading by avowals of right and wrong, but leading by modest examples of your grace and forgiveness. Righteousness doesn't point back to me, it points up to you, to the source of all that is right. Righteousness doesn't put others down; it lifts others up.
I like how Jesus lays it out, surprising his disciples with this paradox:
"Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all."Mark 9:35
Paul puts it another way...
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
This makes sense. This feels right. This is how we experience Christ as we walk this earth. In giving to others we receive the greatest gift of all. Christ and the Holy Spirit flow through us, building us up as we serve others. God, help me to sustain others and build them up, just as you do for me. Help me to see the right thing to do to glorify you, and to do that with humility.
May you walk with our Living Lord today in his path of humble righteousness. May your encouragement of others build up your spirit at the same time.