Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Waters Of Self-Righteousness
Posted on December 1, 2022 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”- Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)
I’m about ready to lay down an accusation that you are more than welcome to dispute, (my e-mail address is attached to today’s Freedom Fighter). None the matter that this accusation comes from a place that, as surely as water runs down a hill, is all about you and only you. I don’t care how much you can measure your Christian walk in terms of length of years, your daily devotion to reading The Word, your constant service to those less fortunate, your endless dedication to prayer, or your esteemed position among the “hierarchy” of the Christian community, this accusation applies to you whether you like or not.
As a matter of fact, it applies to all those in Secularland too, but the locals don’t care if they’re being accused or not because their rebuke to it is to say “Get Over Yourself” to the offending party. Now, for the record here, I’ve been told this numerous times in the past but I get kinda vexed on the how to “get over myself”, so I quickly dismiss the rebuke. However, it doesn’t allow me a loophole outta this accusation. Alrighty Then. So, now that I’m done beatin’ around the bush, what’s the accusation? Well, here it is…Everybody is self-righteous. Everybody!!
It’s real easy to make this accusation too because well, to be honest here, you and I are self-centered at our core and when we have that at our core, self-righteous just flows outta us, like I said before, as water runnin’ down a hill. And you know what else is funny here, ever watch water run down a hill? Doesn’t it take a certain amount of debris with it? So, not only is our self-righteousness watery but it’s full of junk that dirties up our pool of self-centeredness that it eventually flows back to. What a wretched people we can be.
“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” — Luke 18:13
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector is a great illustration of what I’m talking about today. Many of us in Christendom say we reflect the side of the Tax-collector because what he is doing is what Jesus would want us to do. That is, bowing our heads and hearts in humility, admitting our short comings, and asking for His forgiveness. Why is this? Because, clearly his position in the parable outshines what that wacky Pharisee is doing. After all, this dude needs to “Get Over Himself” and that is getting in the way of him asking for God’s grace and mercy.
But as we look to the Tax-collector, we see a man who is understanding his spiritual poverty. A man who knows he is doing wrong and yet he would still boldly approach the Divine Throne, knowing this wrong disagrees with his heart towards his God. He isn’t like the wacky Pharisee, who is boasting about himself as if he were God’s equal, on the contrary, this Tax-collector is eager to receive the grace and mercy that the Pharisee seems to have forgotten to humbly ask for. When we understand that we are that unclean thing, a filthy rag if you will, then we are at the right point in life to take hand to chest and repent not only from what we’ve done wrong but also from what we’ve allowed ourselves to become.
Ya see, in a very technical way, self-righteousness has its roots in spiritual ignorance and that allows us to think that it’s the good stuff that we do, and not the good stuff that we should be in our hearts, that gets us to a good standing with God. Then we could, like a wacky Pharisee, end up comparing ourselves to others and then telling ourselves these are the reasons why I’m deserving of God’s favor and grace…without even asking Him. But get this, those self-righteous folks probably really don’t know God, let alone ever think about showing Jesus any love what so ever. But there is still hope. How so? Check this out…
If you need to hear and see what a repented Pharisee sounds like, then turn with me to the third chapter of Philippians and get past all that “you have to/don’t have to be circumcised” stuff and see what the apostle Paul writes. “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9) So, yes, there is hope. Amen?
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1