“Not to us, O Lord, not to us. But to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1, NIV).
Let us remember: anything He calls and enables us to do is by His power and for His glory.
But self-righteousness is easy to come by. We work hard to please and obey the Lord in every way. Then we look around and we see other believers not working so hard. Perhaps they seem to be giving in too easily to their passions. Or they make mistakes and we assume a little more self-worthiness.
Why can’t we more easily recognize the voice of self-righteousness? God never tells us to take credit for anything. Everything comes from God, is carried out through the Holy Spirit whom He supplies, and goes right back to Him. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!” (Romans 11:36, NIV).
Do we need to be reminded that our righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ? When we accepted his salvation, we accepted His justification … and both were gifts of grace. “There is no difference, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:22-23). If this was our salvation cry, why do we think we can live apart from the grace of Jesus Christ?
It seems that, as years are added to our initial salvation, we tend to grab some glory for ourselves.
Satan begins to tempt us with smug self-satisfaction, and before we know it, we focus on our best efforts to please God. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scriptures say to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’” (Romans 9:16-17, NIV).
When we focus our eyes and energy on our efforts, we lose sight of His mercy and grace. But all of us stand only by grace. Apart from grace, we will fall; if we live by grace, we will freely extend grace. If we live by our own righteousness, we will judge others by their visible righteousness. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3).
Marriages — wake up! Parents and children — wake up! Friends —wake up! Churches — wake up! We can claim nothing as ours, except the grace and mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us walk in it and freely extend it to one another. Then, truly, God will receive the glory.
Further References: John 3:30; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; Galatians 5:24-25;
Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:6.
©2005 Masterpiece of the Wilderness, Deanna Deering