Righteousness

one way road sign

One Way

As I read Mark 8:34 today, I remembered how painful it was for me to “give up your own way.” In the beginning, and for many years this choice was a great battle for me. I have an occasional skirmish all these years later, for Jesus’ demand remains unaltered.

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your way, take up your cross, and follow me. Mark 8 34

One Way

How I love to get my way, striving to be who I want to be. But, if I choose selfishly, I surrender what is right and perfect for what is dull and mundane.
Indeed, the most important thing I can do is be filled with the Holy Spirit, overflowing with the presence of God. When God is freely alive in me, His love spreads to those around me.

16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.2 Corinthians 2:16–17

Only One Right Way

Indeed, our cross will glorify Jesus, condemn the lost, and be a refreshment to the saved. Shouldn’t we choose the right instead of the good? We can do many good things, but only the right thing allows us to take up our cross.

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God’s Equity

As I was reading Psalms 67 today, I came across verse four. Because I was reading the English Standard Version of the Bible, it uses equity where I was expecting righteously. That got me thinking. Here’s the verse:

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

Psalms 67:4

If we look at the King James translation, we find:

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

Psalms 67:4

I peeked at Young’s Literal Translation, and it uses the word uprightly.

The Meaning of God’s Equity

So, I’ve got equity, righteously and uprightly. This led me to Strong’s Concordance. Strong’s Concordance translates the Hebrew word mî·šō·wr as level place, uprightness.

This Hebrew word is used in Psalms 27:11 as “lead me in a plain path” or “lead me in a level path.” Likewise, Psalms 143:10 uses this Hebrew word as “Spirit lead me on level ground” or “lead me into the land of uprightness.”

I know that’s a lot to take in, but we need to understand what we read in the Bible. As we’ve seen, all of the various uses of the Hebrew word mî·šō·wr share something in common. Level, plain (like Kansas being a plain), righteous, uprightness all communicate equity in God. All speak of an equal outcome or equal requirement instead of an equal opportunity.

God’s standard is holiness. God expects us to meet an equal outcome, and that is His righteous standard. He doesn’t say to one person, “It’s okay that you don’t love your neighbor,” or to another, “I don’t expect you to give to those that ask.” This is not our God; His standard is absolute and unchanging.

Good News

God’s expectation for each of His children is the same; He doesn’t grade on the curve. God’s equity is real and applied to every believer in Jesus. And this is Good News!

How horrible it would be if we never knew what God expected from us, if we went through life, never knowing how He would judge us, not knowing what was expected when we stand before Jesus and give an account for what we did in our life.

We should find great joy in knowing God’s expectation is not arbitrary. Instead, He is the unchanging God. None of us can indeed live a sinless life, but we have the Spirit of God in us urges us toward righteousness and good works.

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The Whole Commandment

When Moses, through God, had led the Israelites to the edge of the promised land, he spoke these words to them:

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.

Deuteronomy 8:1

Notice that God’s criterion for living and multiplying and possessing the land was for the Israelites to keep “the whole commandment” that Moses had spoken to them.

Throughout God’s Word, He tells us over and over that we can’t accomplish all of what He wants to do with us and for us unless we give our ALL to Him. It’s like when a small-town high school Hoosier basketball team defeats a top-ranked team. The announcer always says that they won the game with their heart. They were all in, all of the time, and played all of the game until the final buzzer rang.

The Israelites were going into a war zone. Their mission was to take the whole land that God promised them. The Israelites were told to be all in, to obey the whole commandment and they would win. Likewise, as Christians, God’s Word tells us that before we enter the “war zone” He has assigned us to, we must put on the “whole armor of God.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

God tells us these things because He loves us. He has plans for us. We were born for a purpose, for the purpose Almighty God made uniquely for us before there was even one star in the sky. Anything less than receiving God’s all means receiving less than God intended for us. If I want to make some scones (I love scones!), I need all the ingredients. I can’t have scones without flour.

How easy it is for us to bypass the whole Word of God and feed on the “Cliff Notes®1”; those popular verses that are repetitively quoted, tickling our ears. We need to acquire everything that God makes available to us. If God thinks that we need it, we can be certain that we do!

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  1. Cliff Notes®

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