This morning at the Ladies’ Bible study we listened to a lesson by Angela Thomas. She was talking about personal worship — worship in the “secret place” based on Matthew 6 (part of the Sermon on the Mount). Her lesson was very good, however, as God sometimes does, the lesson I really got wasn’t in anything that she said! When she read verse 33 of that chapter, I was struck by something that I’ve never noticed before.
Matthew 6:33 (NAS – emphasis added)
I don’t know about other people, but I’ve always scanned over that phrase “and His righteousness.” And I’ve just thought about seeking His kingdom, which I think I associated mostly with seeking Him personally and sharing the Gospel. But as Angela was talking about getting in our secret place on our face to seek Him, that phrase, “and His righteousness” kept running through my mind. And I realized that this has been a theme that He has been working in me over the last months…
Lately, He has been teaching, re-teaching, and reinforcing to me that He is a HOLY God. Now, I have known this for a long time, but lately it keeps coming back up in the books that I read, the Bible study I do, the songs I hear, and conversations that I have. And the result has been that I have found myself face down on the ground on multiple occasions. Sometimes I had nothing to say, but just needed to put myself in a position of humility before this amazingly wonderful, Holy God.
Every time He has brought me face to face with His holiness, He has made it abundantly clear that His righteousness is inseparable from His holiness. And that He desires righteousness in me. Of course, by myself I can never be righteous enough. Thankfully, I have the righteousness of Jesus covering all my sin! Yet, He desires that day by day we seek His righteousness in our lives and the world around us. We are to be constantly confessing and allowing Him to cleanse us.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us fromall unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10 (NAS)
And we are to be teaching and admonishing one another from His Word.
If we are admonishing one another, we are warning or exhorting other believers to live according to His Word. I find this difficult in some circumstances. It’s easy when I’m dealing with kids and certain youth. But with other adults I find that when I see or hear something contrary to the Word, I will typically grow quiet and maybe even walk away from the situation. That isn’t seeking His righteousness in this world, but is focused on pleasing the person(s) before me. I think many times that He would be far more pleased if I would quietly, lovingly, and respectfully point to the Truth.
All that said, I cannot give a good exhortation if I am unwilling to humble myself and seek His righteousness in my own life. Being used by Him is always a discipline in brokenness and surrender before the Holy One of Israel!