RIGHTEOUSNESS – to live rightly
A good life, that sees good days, comes to you as you seek and pursue peace to make it your experience in life. And continuing to meditate upon it in the words of the apostle Peter, you will observe that there is a path to it that involves an inner transformation in you, for it says that ,He who would love life to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil to do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. [1 Peter:3:10,11]
It is grace that takes you from where you are to experience a peace that is wholeness in you, and is one that comes to you because the chastisement that bought peace to you and I was laid upon the sinless Lamb of God, on the Cross of Calvary. And in the unraveling of the truth to walk in the experience of it, the Holy Spirit plays an indispensable role. For, to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [Romans 8:6] The word of God makes it unequivocally clear; and also declares the importance of having the right mind set, in this regard, for a mind dominated by the flesh, will never be able to please God, and experience the peace from Him. You are bound by and under the domination of the flesh.
The things of the flesh denotes the system of the world that is essentially selfish, self centered, and one that dethrones God to enthrone the self in the heart of a person. It is why a selfish system of thinking, where the flesh dictates your actions, is sin, and a mind that is set on it is death. But at the time of your salvation, you are set free from the dominion of darkness, to be sealed with the Holy Spirit, in the kingdom of the Son of God. And then a marvelous change takes place in you, concerning your flesh and the carnal desires of it. For, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. [Romans 8:9] And when the Spirit is living in you, the mind that is governed by the Spirit is no longer under the domination of the flesh, but is under the direction of the Spirit.
How does the Holy Spirit direct and lead you ?
In a step by step progression of the truth, the very next verse then goes on to say, And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [Romans 8:10] When you are in Christ, you are a new creation. One in which the old is gone, and the new has come.
And, what is the old that is now gone ?
The question can arise because, before and after your salvation, in your physical being, externally, you still look the same. And, your physical body, however well you take care of it, is getting older and will one day succumb to death and go to dust. In other words it is limited. Moses, the writer of the ninetieth psalm, has described the length of a man’s life on earth to be seventy or maybe eighty, and predominately one of sorrow and sighing. One day it will end in death. Also, the body is dead because of sin. It is why, a person who has not been saved from the wrath of sin is already dead, though he may be functioning physically and carrying out all his daily activities. Therefore, what exactly has become new in you, when you are in Christ, has to be clearly understood. And it is where, the truth of what, and who you are, in the design of God’s creation, needs to be understood and grasped.
You are a spirit being :
You are more than your body that will one day go to dust. You are a spirit being. It is the primary core of your being. But, you also have a soul which comprises of your mind, emotions and will, and you live in a body. And, in the nature your being, apart from Christ you were dead in your transgressions. But, you were made alive and new in your spirit by the Holy Spirit, when you received Christ into your heart, to be raised together with Him from death to life, to be seated together with Him in the heavenly realms. This was your salvation experience. In your flesh, though you maybe still living in a body that is subject to death, your spirit is made alive, to never die, by the Holy Spirit coming to live in you, and go on to lead and direct you to do what is right. Your spirit was liberated, at that point of time, by the Spirit by providing righteousness to live the right kind of life. And, if you want to experience peace, you have to take care to live the right kind of life, by the righteousness of God that comes to you by the Holy Spirit living in you.
The righteous God :
God is righteous; He is always right, and He can also make things right when you receive Christ into your spirit, and the Holy Spirit comes to live in you.Therefore, even if wrong things have happened in your life, before you entered into relationship with Christ as your Savior, and even if you have done things that are very wrong, it need not remain that way. For, the Holy Spirit, who now lives in you, can take you, to the place where God wants you to be, by teaching you and empowering you to make things right in your life. Thus, if hither to, your life had been one could be described as, one step forward, and three steps backward, when the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, it will see your life transformed. And, by the renewing of your mind through the Holy Spirit in you, it will now be a leaping forward that takes you to the place where God wants you to be.
How does this happen in you ?
You are a new creation in Christ. Christ in you is the hope of glory. Therefore, though your body of flesh is limited, the Spirit in you, the Spirit of Christ is unlimited. God is unlimited in what He can do and has already done in your life. It makes the all important difference, as the apostle Paul beautifully narrates to bring understanding of the truth. But as it is written, ‘eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. [1 Corinthians 2:9] And this verse shows the all important need to live by the Spirit, as He directs you, and not according to what your flesh, or your human body and soul, that is limited in its’ capacity, and not permanent in nature dictates.
For, you are a spirit, soul and body. It is the truth of creation, one that was tarnished and disconnected by sin, but put back together in your salvation. You now have the Spirit living in you. It is what makes the difference in you knowing what God has prepared for you, because, if you cannot see it with your eyes, or hear it with your ears, to conceive it in your human mind, naturally speaking, you will only conclude that all that He has prepared for you, does not exist at all.
But to ‘us’ :
But God has revealed them to us, through His Spirit; the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. [1 Corinthians 2:10] You and I are now part of the ‘us’, for the Spirit is now living in us, to reveal what God has prepared. And the decision to choose how you want to live lies with every person. For, living under the domination of the flesh, you will say that because you cannot see it, hear it or imagine it, what God has planned will not happen. But when you live by the direction of the Spirit, who lives in you, ‘My eyes cannot see it now, but one day I will see it’, will be your confident declaration, believing and trusting that the day when you will be able to testify, ‘This is the Lord’s doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes’, will certainly and surely come. It is not a question of ‘if’, but only a question of ‘when’, and ‘how’!
All you need to do, is to shift your focus from your situation, your present circumstance, to start with God, and what He has promised to you through His word, that He has plans for you to prosper you; and as you hear His word with your ear, your heart will conceive it, to place it in your mind. It is why Nehemiah, was able to say, and affirm that God had put a particular thought in his mind.If you live by your fleshly feelings alone, you will only end up getting frustrated and give up. But, the blessed truth is that God knows; and in a relationship with Him, through the Holy Spirit, He reveals it you. The situation may seem overwhelming, but you need not succumb to it, because He knows!
‘He Himself knew what He would do’ :
But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do. [John 6:6] It is the classic incident of the feeding of the five thousand, the truth of which can never run dry in your life and mine! How wonderfully restful it is, to know today, that He knows. He not only knows your need, but knows how He is going to satisfy it too. The disciples in their fleshly logic, where the revelation of the Spirit was absent, put forward many reasons which were valid and right, to say that it was impossible to feed the huge crowd. To one, the place was not right, for it was deserted. To another the timing was not right, in order to go and find food. It was already getting dark. To still another, there was not enough money, and even with money, the logistics of it was an impossible task. It was all very true; and it is also very true that you have in your life today, the person who knew what He was going to do! And, with Him, nothing is limited, and nothing is insufficient, as the disciples considered the little that the little boy offered to them to be. And you have the blessing of knowing today, how the story ended on that day! You can rewind it therefore, to study it and also apply it in your life, by doing what the Lord did. He gave thanks, and blessed it. Then He took the five loaves and two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them and gave them to the disciples, to set before the multitude. [Luke 9:16]
The Lord gave thanks, as He looked up, and it is what you need to do too, with what you have in your hand, though to you it may appear little in front of the mammoth need that lies in front of you. For, you have in your life, the Possessor of heaven and earth, and all the silver and gold on earth is His. The five loaves and two fishes were little, but the one in whose hand it was, knew what He was going to do with it, as He gave thanks. He knew that it was going to multiply, as He blessed it. Today, the Lord wants to do the same in your life, as you give thanks to Him, for what He has given you already. For, God wants to invite you to unlimited meals. It comes when His blessing comes upon what you lift up to Him in grateful thanks. It is with the revelation through the Spirit who lives in you, that you will be enlightened with the truth of the richness of the God you have, to give thanks, knowing that He will satisfy your need in abundance.
And the blessing of God upon what you have is the empowerment of success that will find your lack and need fulfilled wondrously. He blesses your food and water, to remove all sickness from you. To Abraham it was the promise of blessing, with which God called him, and steadily, as Abraham obeyed the call of God, it was the blessing of God, that gave Abraham success wherever he went. And in the end, Abraham was blessed in every way, with riches in every area. In your life too, as you lift up to Him what is in your hand in gratitude, He will empower you with success, as He blesses it, and you will go on to experience every fullness of God, and you will find that you have more than what you need in every situation that you enter into in the direction of the Spirit. It is the Spirit who reveals God’s truth to you in your spirit, so that your mind is renewed, and your body and flesh is restored.Therefore, in your problem, in your trouble, there is one thing that you need to do. Instead of looking around you, look up.
Start with God :
When you seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all other things will be added unto you. It is the promise of the Lord. [Matthew 6:33] Therefore, start with God, with what He has spoken in His word concerning your problem, whether it is in your finances, work, home, healing in your physical body, whatever it may be. The Lord already knows about it, and He also knows what He is going to do about it. So when you begin with Him and work towards your problem in the direction, leading and empowering of the Spirit, and God’s word, by the time you arrive at your problem, you will find that it is no longer a problem.
It is when you begin with the problem, and try to deal with it in human wisdom and logic of the world, that it can end up drowning you. And, needless pain and struggle can be avoided by you, when you choose to go to the Lord first, instead of exhausting all other options as you try to deal with depending on your own self effort, before you reach out to Him, for His hand of help and hope. The righteous man is not afraid of bad news, the word of God declares. It teaches you the truth that even when negative things happen in life, you have a positive God in you, the blessed Holy Spirit, who will guide you into all truth, the promise of God concerning it in His word, the truth that will set you free.
When the situation looked too impossible to manage, the disciples just wanted the Lord to dismiss the hungry multitude, make them go back hungry to their homes. But the Lord, wanted to send them back full and satisfied, with plenty left over. He is the same today even in your overwhelming situation. He knew what He was going to do. He remains the same unchanging God today. And in your overwhelming need when you start with Him, by the time you arrive at your need you will know and declare that your God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. And the truth that the righteous shall lack no good thing, will be your experience in life.
Seeing the invisible that is eternal :
It is how righteousness works in your life, to give you the power to live the right kind of life. It is also something that needs to happen continually within you in order to keep you from getting discouraged, even when the things which are not permanent in your life, seem to be no longer as strong as they once used to be. It is the truth of the transformation of your inner man that is growing stronger and stronger within you through the Spirit who now lives in you, that can make you confidently say like Paul, Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, our inward man is being renewed day by day. [2 Corinthians 4:16]
Instead of concentrating on your physical body that is temporary, and getting older and weaker with the passage of years, something that becomes very obvious when you look at your reflection in the mirror that does not lie, look within you, at what is permanent. It is where the Holy Spirit, who now lives in you, is transforming you through His righteousness to live the right kind of life. Heaven is the glorious and permanent reality towards which you are now progressing, a place where you are going to be with the Lord forever and ever. It is going to be a glorious place, is the truth that you can even now find hope, especially in a time of bereavement. It is where the righteousness of God, by the Holy Spirit now living in you is leading you to ultimately. But meanwhile, in the path to it, you may have questions about how to handle your present, the trials you may be facing here on earth.
The righteousness of God in the here and now :
How it practically works out day in and day out in your life’s challenges in the here and now as you walk towards the blessed hope of life that is spent with the Lord eternally is laid out step by step in Paul’s letter to the Romans that explains what righteousness does in you, which is ,Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace by which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [Romans 5:1,2] The verses above can be simplified in order to be understood and applied in two groups, of three words in each.
Faith, righteousness and peace [verse 1]
Faith, grace and glory [verse 2]
By faith you have been made righteous with God, to experience peace in your life. And the key is righteousness by which you are made right with God. And, He gives you the power to live the right kind of life. How it works out in your everyday life, in every situation you face is, by your faith, grace and glory. [verse 2] Faith is your dependence on God. Grace is the favor of God that comes upon you. Glory is the manifestation of the excellence of God’s power in your life.
The right perspective:
And where the rubber meets the road, and the application of the truth comes in, is in the midst of your problems and difficulties is described by Paul in the subsequent verses ,And not only that, we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, And perseverance, character, and character, hope [Romans 5:3,4] With the right kind of living that comes to you through the righteousness that the Holy Spirit provides, you will be able to approach the problem with the right perspective. And as in aviation technology, where when the approach is right, the landing of the plane is smooth, with a right approach you can handle your problem rightly.
Right perspective builds spiritual stamina :
The righteousness of God gives right perspective to your problem that sees you victorious and builds spiritual stamina in you. Stamina develops in you through your negative experiences that threaten to overcome you. You learn slowly and steadily to not react to insults of people as you used to, as you know the truth that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God in you. It builds up in you as you train yourself to listen to the voice of the Spirit in you. David who at one point is agitated and fearful, as he talks about the people who are coming to swallow him alive, goes on to declare his faith in the God who remains his refuge and fortress that keeps him safe. It is how stamina builds up in you to remain calm in the midst of your troubles. And one day you begin to realize that what used to trouble you earlier does not do so any more. You have the stamina to face even bigger problems. Pressure produces perseverance if it is handled rightly.
Spiritual maturity :
Secondly spiritual maturity comes in you as you go through tribulation with the right perspective. And you learn progressively to be still when He calls you to be so, and sow, when He wants you to sow, regardless of your circumstance. It is what Isaac did, to reap in the same year a hundred fold. Job initially had questions, but slowly his maturity grew till he knew that one day his problem would end, and he would come out of it all shining as gold. Hope that comes through the righteousness of God that is in you through the Holy Spirit in you, is the conviction that what God has promised to you will certainly come to pass.
Hope – love – Holy Spirit; the connection:
And this hope will not disappoint you, because of two things – the love of God poured into your heart, through the Spirit of God who lives in you. Now hope does not disappoint us for the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [Romans 5:5] It is how you can know and hope that after putting in so much effort in persevering in your tribulation, it will not end in a fiasco that puts you to shame. You will not be disappointed because of the love of God.
And how do you know that He loves you ?
He loves you so much that He is living in you all the time. The God who has promised is present in you. It is why you do not have to be overcome by your tribulation. All you need to do is to learn to lean and depend on Christ who is living in you. In your physical body you are limited, but in your inner being you are unlimited, for you are leaning on the God Almighty. May God seal these words in your heart so that it may bring about a transformation in your life this day. Just focus upon God, the Holy Spirit, asking Him to teach you to approach rightly the challenge that you may be facing right now. Let His wisdom and strength fill you, and let the weak say ‘I am strong’, for He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world.
And, if He is for you, who can be against you ?
Your chains are gone for the Lord your Savior has ransomed you; and His amazing grace and unending love is even now raining upon you, showering you with His blessing of fulfillment and peace. It comes in you as you acknowledge and appropriate the righteousness of God in you that leads you to live the right kind of life, for the glory and honor of His Name.
In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen.
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