Living Right

I’ve reading through Proverbs right now on my journey through the Bible this year.  There is such a wealth of knowledge and great direction in this book, it is impossible to actually take it all in.  I figure I’ll do it one bite at a time each year by thinking about and meditating on one of the main ideas that Solomon talks about in Proverbs.

This year God stopped me on the section in Proverbs about righteousness.

Righteousness is an old-fashioned term that doesn’t seem to relate to my world today……until I realize it’s just ‘living right’.  Doing the right things.  Making the right decisions.  Saying the right things.

How do I know what is right?  God’s Word is right.  It’s the truth.  God himself speaks to me through the Bible, explaining it and helping me apply it to my life.  The Holy Spirit convicts me when my thinking gets off and my actions don’t reflect what I believe.

I’m so glad I have the role-model of Jesus.  I don’t have to try to look around the world and find someone I want to imitate in order to ‘live right’.  I have Jesus.  This truth has often helped me move passed major disappointments with people – especially people in the church.  I used to expect people in the church to be a lot more ‘righteous’ than others until I realized that we’re all just people, struggling with our weaknesses.  As believers, God is gradually redeeming our lives but he still has a lot of work to do.

So watching people- especially people who say they are Christians – I got confused and disillusioned.  Then I looked to Jesus.  Focused on him.  And the issues about imperfect Christians went away.

Jesus gave imperfect Christians grace and love and spoke truth at the right time into their lives.  I’m so glad because I am imperfect and this is how he treats me.

Jesus did it – it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Disappointed

Extremely disappointed.

In the past, that was how I often felt when I observed the behaviors of some people who call themselves Christians.  Disappointed.  It was hard not to question what ‘having faith’ meant when Christians were gossiping, using profanity, lying and basically not looking any different than the unbelieving world around us.

Where’s the transformation?

Where is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is alive inside of us?

The fact that I wasn’t impressed by many Christian’s behavior kept me from seriously working on my relationship with Christ.  What’s the use?

I was stuck in that thinking for a while until my husband gave me a word of truth that entirely flipped my perspective.  He said, “Judy, you need to get your eyes off of people and focus on Jesus.”

Bam!  He was so right!  I was being stalled in growing in my faith by looking at the faults of people instead of using Jesus’ role-model as my guide.

Paul reminds us in Romans 3 that God is always faithful.  “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”

After refocusing, I no longer have Christians up on a pedestal.  My expectations of the behavior of Christians has become more reasonable – we are all people who need God’s grace living in a broken world.  Yes, even pastors and leaders in the church are in need of God’s grace.

One of the reasons God sent Jesus to earth was to give us a real live example of how we should live.  I have started focusing on Jesus and his behavior, not people.  Jesus is perfect, people definitely aren’t.  Other Christians will disappoint me, hurt me and they might say and do things that are not helpful or even true.

Since I’ve gotten my eyes set on Jesus, I know my response to these disappointing behaviors needs to be grace, love and forgiveness.  Christians are also called to hold each other accountable – with love and truth.   That’s what Jesus did as he constantly had to deal with the ‘humanness’ of his disciples.

Jesus is my role-model.  He perfectly balanced love and truth.  He is forever faithful and trustworthy.

He never disappoints.

Thank you, Jesus.