Dan kicked the ball away from the goalie and was trying to break free when the enraged keeper threw him to the ground injuring his shoulder and neck. Dan said it was all he could do to keep from jumping to his feet and punching the guy. Sports have a way of revealing a nature inside of us we don’t like to admit exists. Jesus wrestled against sin and pinned it to the mat in triumph. How? He completely trusted and obeyed His Father. He did not succumb to the world (a place and system associated with sin and ruled by Satan). John wrote, “You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him. Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him” (1 John 3:5,6). If we want to be righteous we have to be like Jesus.
Righteousness is accomplished by two things: godly faith and godly obedience. Jesus modeled this by trusting His Father and fulfilling His will. Even though He was righteous, Jesus died the death of a criminal. There is a great lesson in this. Often, we expect because of our good behavior that others will treat us properly. When we are treated poorly our sense of justice is violated. But if we become bitter we reveal that our righteousness lacks faith and we may be acting out of our own strength. True righteousness is right doing and right being. These come about by setting our hearts and minds on . . . “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Saul Bellow, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, wrote, “A man is only as good as what he loves.”
If I read secular literature, listen to secular music, watch secular programs, interact with secular people and neglect meditating on God’s truth and communicating with Him throughout the day than I should not be surprised to find myself often discouraged, full of critical thoughts, and unfruitful in serving God. What I think and dwell upon influences how I feel and act. For this reason, I begin each day reading the Bible, praying, and listening to worship music. This habit fortifies me with God’s truth, strengthens me against the attacks of the enemy and inoculates my flesh to withstand temptations. What we make of Jesus determines what the world makes of us.
We cannot save ourselves nor sanctify ourselves, God does that; but God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character, He will not make us walk aright. We have to do all that ourselves, we have to work out the salvation God has worked in . . . The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being.—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
To cling always to God and to the things of God—this must be our major effort, this must be the road that the heart follows.—John Cassian
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)