ROOTED - Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Matthew 5:20
 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


Reflection: Whack-a-mole part 2
Per yesterday’s Rooted devotional, it might be helpful to describe how discipleship (and a Christian’s growth) works. A whack-a-mole is akin to a roller coaster ride (I hate rollercoasters). When I was a teenager, my Christian life was up and down. Highs, lows. Seasons of moles and seasons of no moles. Success, failure. In a cycle… mountains and valleys. I assumed that this was a normal way the Christian life was lived. Basically, I didn’t believe (based on my long experience) that actual sustained growth was possible. I would always be on a roller coaster and knocking down moles. I tried hard to be successful in my Christian life and felt I never had traction. I would say this is the experience of most Christians in their life. They have no actual understanding of how growth works and no plan to achieve success.
The pharisees had a kind of righteousness. It was externalism. Trying to do the right things and treating the Christian life as “sin management.” Essentially, they thought that if they could behave right, then they must be right. This is the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees. Externalism! But Jesus says seek “His righteousness.” Obviously, this is in contrast to the other kind of righteousness. It is a righteousness that works from the inside out. The goal in Kingdom righteousness is to become like Jesus (a heart and character change) and allow then your actions to change naturally as a result of this radical internal change. What we need is heart change not action changes. The pharisee tries to change the behavior first. That will not work, believe me! To be continued………….

Father in Heaven, help us to know that the way to righteousness is not changing our behavior but changing our character from the inside out. Help us to do so by your Spirit’s grace!