i don't remember when i got saved. i don't remember my first time at church. i don't remember the first time i sang a hymn or read my Bible. but, i sure remember the first time God spoke to me and said that my righteousness was as filthy rags.
i was a little girl when my mom first got saved. so, i can not remember not going to church. it was always a part of my life. i loved God. i loved church. i loved everything about it. all of my church experiences were good ones. i always felt loved and approved of there. of course, i loved approval. so, i made sure to always act appropriately and do what i thought was necessary for God and others to think highly of me.
i wanted to be good. i liked being good. i could never understand why others did not want to be good. i found a lot of favor from a lot of people by being good and i liked that a lot. being good was really worth it to me. it was very beneficial to me in so many ways. except for one. as i got older, my sense of pride in myself and my tendency to think that i had arrived at this place of goodness in my life because of me and my choices caused me to be unmerciful, unsympathetic, uncompassionate and very judgemental toward others, who i thought showed weakness in not making themselves do what was right. it caused me to stand in self righteousness.
as i journeyed through my life and my walk with God, i found myself looking to God to continue to bless my life and show me favor. but, my reasoning was not because of Him and His goodness but me and my goodness. i had a sense of pride about me that i did not recognize was there until one day when i was asking God why He was not blessing my life in a particular area because i had been so faithful and done what i thought He had expected me to and He said to me, "christy, your righteousness is not good enough. it is like filthy rags to Me. the standard that I require is perfect righteousness, like the fine linen. found only in My Son, Jesus." God stood me next to Jesus and showed me that even all of the good that i had been and done was like dung next to the perfect goodness of Jesus. i was stunned and yet freed at the same time. but, it was not a defeated day. it was a liberating day for me because God did not leave me there in a state of bewilderment. He began to show me that i was bringing my own efforts of being good, my righteousness, before Him instead of His efforts, His righteousness that He had already given me by faith in the finished work of Jesus. i was trying to qualify for God's blessing and favor by being good instead of relying on the good that He already created in me, in Christ. i could not take credit for the good that only He had given me the ability to do in the first place because without Jesus, there was no good thing in me.
since this moment, my life has never been the same! i am free! i am free! i am free!
i live and move and breathe and expect God's hand and favor and blessing in my life depending on God's gift of righteousness given to me through Jesus. i see myself as being nothing good except the good that Jesus made me to be and i am finding myself being merciful, sympathetic, compassionate and accepting of others. i am finding myself in a state of peace and rest. i know that Jesus gift of righteousness makes me capable of standing before God knowing that i have a right to expect His provision because Jesus had been so faithful and did what God expected Him to by taking my sin and giving me His goodness. today, i am good not because i choose to be but because He made me that way! i exchanged my filthy rags for His fine linen.
3 days ago