Debbie Salter Goodwin
The Fight to be Right
The fight to be right is a messy war, but we engage in it all the time.. We leave collateral damage and never clean up. We squabble over dates, sequence of events, and all the who-what-where-when's of our lives. Why? Because we think rightness makes everything better? I am learning the painful truth that every push I've made to be right usually makes something worse--a relationship or a moment.
However, there is a rightness I long for, but it is not about the inconsequential trivia of life. As a created person of God's design, He implanted in me a need for rightness with Him. We call this right relationship with God righteousness. To be right with God brings core peace even when we can't be right with the world. To be right with God is to have His stamp of ownership that marks us as His very own. This right relationship protects us from unnecessary fights to be right. At least it should.
Many call it right-wise-ness. That ramps the meaning up a bit more. It means to be wise in a way that leans toward God's will first. It is a wisdom from God that informs the heart, the emotions, and the mind. We need God's wisdom first because we often base ours on other voices before His.
God also shares His character with us through His righteousness. We can't be true enough, good enough, or right enough by our own wisdom, perspective, or interpretations. But God is. We need His righteousness to reveal and influence the way we think and relate in our world.
Another way to think about righteousness is to ask God to give us right-eyes. Jesus talked about this as "eyes to see." He meant more than the physical act of seeing. He makes us hungry for the spiritual sight that only God can influence in a heart open to His editing.
God has high standards and He makes no apologies for them. He knows that by our own leanings, we can't meet them. Read through I Corinthians 13 about the standard for love and we don't get very far before we see our shortcomings. God willingly and lovingly wants to share His right living and right thinking with us so that they become our desires, too. We develop a longing for living God's way. The more we nurture that longing and let that longing have full reign in our lives, the more we live in right relationship with God.
God's righteousness answers our need to be right. Until we recognize that, we won't access His gift. But when we do, we let God dress us in His character. We turn away from our useless push to be right and live toward the higher call to be right with God. We choose God and His will. Then, God becomes our benefactor, not our dictator.
It is time we stop pushing the meaning of righteousness into a spiritual closet where we keep important spiritual truths but don't live them. It is time we learn how living rightly related to God allows God to help us exercise His rightness in every part of our lives. It is time we enjoy a relationship with God that shares all the empowerment we need to be who God created us to be.
Let's live hungry for righteousness and find out how God fills our need to right with all the power but without the fight.
Something to Pray About . . .
Read these verses and pay attention to righteousness every time you see it.
Seek first His kingdom and righteousness. Matthew 6:33, NIV
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Matthew 6:6, NIV
He (or she) who pursues righteousness and love finds life. Proverbs 21:21, NIV
Now read these verses by inserting God's rightness for the word righteousness. Ask God to show you where you lean into your own rightness. Then ask God to teach you to lean toward Him.
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