Sunday, April 20, 2008

Self Righteousness

"Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" Proverbs 20:6

Finding someone who is faithful is hard to find. In the days of "doing our own thing" and no absolutes faithfulness to almost anything but self indulgence is thrown out the window. Faithfulness is no longer a big part in the work ethic, in family, and especially to God. And while we, as Christians, must be aware that we are required to be faithful to God and his Word, we must continue to examine ourselves to that extent. Are we really being faithful?

There is a real temptation to become as the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 who, no doubt was a pretty good fellow but yet despised that poor publican who was standing by him.

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:9-14

First the Pharisee listed all the things he wasn't than all the things he did. But we must understand that, like the Pharisee, we can easily become hardened to sin and God's Holy Spirit wooing. First of all, understand this: without Christ, we are evil. Yes, we may seem like pretty good folk but in God's eyes that is not the case. Remember that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and that there is none righteous, no not one. See Romans 3:10, 23. Only through bowing to Christ as Lord can we become what he wants us to be, and it doesn't just stop at conversion but continues on until death or the rapture. Proverbs 20:9 says, "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" God knows our motives from the very beginning as pointed out in the eleventh verse. "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right." God knows why we do the things we do and he can reveal it to us if we want to listen. He can do it through his Word, the preaching, the Holy Ghost, through a friend, or just a still small voice. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 Much more can be written about motives and you are invited to read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 for more information.

But we live in a time when everyone blames on their shortcomings on someone else. "I got it from my dad." "She rubbed off on me." I could go on and on but the end is that we are responsible for our own actions and god holds us so. Know another thing: God searches the hearts. Read what King David told his son Solomon when he was about to take the throne. "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." 1 Chronicles 28:9 See what he told the church in Thyatira about a prophetess named Jezebel. "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works." Revelation 2:23

The third point is that we must measure up to God's standard. It's one thing for us to proclaim our on goodness but it avails nothing if we are not right before God. Our hearts can easily become hardened without our recognizing it. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:12 We must humble ourselves before God and sometimes even in fasting and let him examine us.

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