Do you struggle with God's desire that we be righteous, even as you face the reality of your fallenness? I've asked a good friend, Dan DeWitt, to be our guest columnist this week to explore that.
I have been wanting to get rid of my lawnmower for several months now. It would cut the grass, but the grass looked ugly when I was done. So I began shopping around for a new lawn mower. The high cost made me return to my garage and see what I could do about the old one. I tried to sharpen the blade first and see if that helped. I didn’t have much hope with this simple fix because I had sharpened the blade in the spring before I began mowing and it did no good. The mower just did not cut the grass very well.
When I took the old blade off I was surprised. The edge on that blade looked like it had hardly been touched. It still looked pretty sharp. Not to be deterred, I put a nice edge on the blade and put it back on the mower. I put the blades on exactly the way that it had been before. That’s when I noticed it. The sharp edges of the mower blade were pointing the wrong direction. I had been mowing the grass all spring and summer with the blades on upside down, with the sharp edge pointing backwards. The mower was going through the motions. It had cut the grass, but the blades were upside down and backwards so they just tore the grass up rather than making a nice clean cut. No wonder the lawn looked bad.
It made me wonder if God sees that when He looks at our lives. Does He see a bunch of people whose hearts are upside down and backwards? Is that what the Bible means that all of our righteous deeds are unacceptable to Him? We might attempt to go through the motions of doing good things, but because our souls are upside down and backwards, the swath of our lives is a mess.
I fixed the mower by putting the blade on the way it was intended to be. Now it cuts the grass nicely. It was an easy fix.
Is there an easy fix on our lives? The Bible tells us that if we place our faith in Jesus, God sees our lives completely differently. Even though we still may not be pointing the edge of our lives the right direction, God no longer sees our lives as being upside down and backwards. He no longer sees the mess we have made of it. Instead, he sees the reflection of Jesus’ perfection which has been wrapped around us. Because God sees the righteousness of Christ when he looks at our lives, God is happy with what he sees. God accepts us because of Jesus. Our souls are no longer upside down and backwards.
This is the good news of the Bible. No, this is the GREAT news!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
Kick Starting the Application
How troubled do you feel trying to be righteous by God’s standards and failing? Does knowing that God’s grace brings forgiveness increase or decrease your efforts? How does knowing that God views us as righteous, through Christ, impact your desire to grow in holiness? Why?
Dan DeWitt pastors the Federated Church of Sandwich, Illinois. fedconnection.net, a merger of a Presbyterian Church USA and an American Baptist Church USA 99 years ago, as an example of what Christian unity can look like. Visit Dan’s blog at danielleedewitt.blogspot.com.