Okay so I was ready the Bible the other day (I know what a shock ;) ) and I found a couple of verses that I am sure has been added since the last time I read it because I sure don't recall seeing it any of the other times I have been reading the Bible...Okay so maybe God just brought it to my attention this time.
Job 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes,
Job 32:2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
So it got me thinking. We can tell how truly righteous we are by whom we justify: ourselves or God. For my own part I can honestly say that I was righteous in my own eyes because I have been much more inclined to justify myself than God. Now I know that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) but that is not what I am talking about. This is talking about self-righteousness: a righteousness that comes because of who we are and what we have done, not because of who God is and what he has done.
To be honest I think it a trap that is all to easy for us all to fall into, and the sad thing is is that a self-righteous person doesn't even realise that they are self-righteous. But we have here in Job the litmus test (if we really care to take it): Whose actions do I justify; mine or God's?
So to give you an example of what I found in my life (and this is just one area of many but one that many of you hear are aware of) the topic of marriage. I wish to get married and the more years that pass by the more frustrated I have been by my singleness. Yet my argument has been, "God why are you holding out on me? I haven't gone sleeping around as I know at least 3 of my 6 siblings did before they were married, nor would I flirt with other people and encourage them to have sex with me once I was married as another sibling of mine has done. Why are they given the reward that I desire?"
Ultimately, I was saying, "I have done all the right things and behaved better than my family so why aren't you paying up." My justification was of me and what I have done right and better than others. There was no justification of God.
The question then becomes, "What would justification of God look like?" I believe the justification of God is faith and would look something like this: You know what, I am not seeing what I want in my life but I know that God is working in me to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). God has a purpose and a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) which is bigger and better than anything I could hope, think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and he has promised me the desires of my heart because I delight myself in him (Psalm 37:4). He doesn't say when He will give them to me but I know that He will because he is true to his word." This is justifying God. i.e. Look, I don't see what I want yet but it is coming because my God is faithful and that is why I can have faith in him because he knows what is best for my life.
So word of encouragement: change the way you think, justify God and not yourself.
Beautiful call for us to examine our own hearts, and I think your test is a good one too.
So true, when I think of myself I see all the good things that God has done for me and also think how badly some things could have been but were not probably because of Gods hand. I deserve absolutely nothing from God yet He chooses to give me things. To me that is what glorifing God is for Paul said it best that in me no good thing dwells
The parable of the Prodigal Son illustrates your point quite well. The son that stayed behind was upset because he did all the right things while his wild and crazy brother wasted his entire inheritance, yet his father threw a party for the reckless and wild brother, despite him having done nothing to deserve it.
For me personally, this is one of the main reasons why I stopped "tithing". We still give to many things, but we no longer keep track of it because I don't for one minute want to feel justified by my giving. In other words, I don't want to feel like any blessing I've received is because of me and what I've done, but rather because of who God is as my Provider.
I continued on my study Pete using your example of the prodigal son. This is a great example as it shows both sides of the coin very clearly (Justify self = older brother; justify God = younger brother). In doing so I noted:
1. The person who justifies themselves sees the blessings of God as a right because they have earned it by what they have done, whereas the person who justifies God sees His blessings as a bonus that comes because of His mercy and grace and because of his kindness and goodness.
2. The self-righteous person is proud because of how good they have been. The God-righteous person is humbled and truly recognises that they haven't behaved acceptably.
3. The God-righteous person recognises that the have a need which they themselves can't fill which a self righteous person does not. Consider this in relation to Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
If I don't recognise that I am sick I am not going to go to a doctor and if a doctor told me I were I would probably get quite frustrated and annoyed. In either situation the doctor can't really help me. If we don't recognise our need for God's grace and mercy we are not going to go to God and even if God told us we were in need of Him in a certain area on the surface we might acknowledge it (because that is what a good Christian does) but deep down we are frustrated and annoyed. In either situation God can't really help us.
great post Foadle! that's from the Throne!
the example of the prodigal son reveals to me another great truth:
Luk 15:12 KJV
(12) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
the father not only gave the younger son his inheritance, he also gave the older son his inheritance -
Luk 15:29-31 KJV
(29) And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
(30) But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
(31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
the older son had been given his inheritance by his father, but he had not received what had been already given to him - he didn't believe that the fatted calf was already his, so he didn't enjoy it since he was still waiting for his father to give; and his father couldn't give the older son what was already his by inheritance previously divided.
2Pe 1:1-4 KJV
(1) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
(2) Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
(3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
(4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
this is a difficult concept for me; that God 'hath given' to me 'all things that pertain to life and godliness' - i look around with my eyes and i don't see this; like the older son, i have trouble believing my Father that He has already given. the way i receive what he has already given is 'through the knowledge of Him' - through knowing Him.
1Ki 17:3-9 KJV
(3) Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
(4) And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
(5) So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
(6) And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
(7) And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
(8 ) And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
(9) Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
God had already given Elijah a supply of food and water to sustain him during the drought, but if Elijah had not listened to God's leading and followed it, he would have 'walked around' what God had already given him and missed his supply. later, when the brook dried up (due to the drought that Elijah had spoken into existence), Elijah had once again been given a supply; and once again he had to follow God's leading in order to intersect with it. it took great focus for Elijah to act on a leading to go into the wilderness and wait for ravens to bring him food each day when his senses told him how ridiculous this was in the natural; and each day he had to listen for God's leading to know when to leave the brook. then the brook dried up before he got the next instruction - it would have been so much easier on his flesh to get the next instruction before the brook dried up; but like me, he probably would have chosen his own timing and missed his appointment with the widow.
the greatest way to justify God is for me to agree with Him that He's not the holdup - He's already given; and that through His grace and by seeking and following His leading according to His timing, i will eventually intersect with those things i now lack that He's already given me.
another aspect of this is focus on one's own 'un-righteousness'; this is what i struggle with the most. i can see that my own performance is sorely lacking, and all too often i mistakenly assume that this is why i haven't received what God has already given me - it doesn't matter whether my focus is on the things i do right or the things i do wrong; either way my focus is on what i do and not on what He has done. pride is like a stick; on one end is arrogance and on the other end is false humility - true humility is to agree with what God has said - that i am righteous simply by believing Him - regardless of my own performance, good or bad - that's almost too good to be true!!!:)
True. What I am finding is the more I try to walk out the revelation the more I realise how far I was from this truth. It's a challenge but one I know God has already given me victory in