Let’s talk about the gift of righteousness, and being righteousness conscious.
The people will declare, “The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.”
For the past three weeks, I have been finding myself listening to messages on the righteousness of God. I had always been planning to write about it at some point but all the signs were pointing towards me doing it now, so here goes.
In this post, I am going to talk about how the message of the gift of righteousness has been helping me in living the vine life over the past weeks. Being righteousness-conscious is important to me, it’s one thing I know I need to be well established in.
Firstly, I would like to mention that without receiving the gift of righteousness, no one can live the vine life. In Romans 10:10, the word says that ‘for with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.’ So to be saved, one has to believe that they have been made righteous in the Lord Jesus Christ. His gift of righteousness is important to us, whether we are living the vine life or not.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The bible says, “and we know that God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).” When He did this, that is when we became a branch in Christ, who is our vine; we became joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. He took all our sin, and our trespasses on the cross and gave us His robe of righteousness.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
And notice that none of these verses say we have to work for righteousness, instead, we must believe we have His righteousness, which is a gift from God. Once we know we have received this gift, we are also able to start living the vine life in Christ, because once saved, we become the branches on the vine, that is, Christ.
17 For if by the one man’s [a]offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5: 17
In one of his sermons, Pastor Prince talked about how the bible is full of promises given for those who are righteous, most especially in Proverbs. He encouraged us to highlight any of the verses that had a promise for the righteous and to meditate on them.
For me the two areas where I have been reminded about and strengthened in over the past three weeks are, using my faith to believe in His gift of righteousness, and speaking or confessing righteousness. I listened to a sermon where Pastor Prince encourages us to use our faith for righteousness instead of concentrating on each of our individual needs all the time, and to also speak it out.
Matthew 6: 31 -33
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
In Matthew 6, the Lord Jesus hold us that we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things we worry about as humans will be added unto us. And in the book of Isaiah, the word says we shall be established in righteousness and fear shall be far from us. It also says that because we have His righteousness, no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and any tongue that rises against us we shall condemn.
In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Both these reminders were important to me because there was a period I was worried about both food and clothes, among other things. I was stuck because I was unsure of which direction to take with my writing, and I was afraid to make the wrong decision. I was afraid to disappoint God by not hearing where He is directing me to go; afraid of walking myself right into unfruitfulness and stagnation.
I was afraid of the ‘failure’ I knew was coming because the time I needed, to accomplish goals I had set for myself for my 26th year, had run out. I only have five months left to do things I had planned to do in a year, I panicked a little as I acknowledged that I just couldn’t. Not on my own anyway.
And while I know that in Christ I can do all things, I have to ask if that is even what He wants for me. I remember going through my journal and seeing my goals, hopes and dreams for this 26th chapter, and all I could see was a lost cause and all the time I had wasted in the past 7 months. I had made no progress, and while there were some outside circumstances, I can only truly ‘blame’ myself. I hate that word at this point as all it ever does is pull me back…. Blame…
I noticed something though, two pages I had included that were still very much blank. The first page was titled to ‘Jesus ideas & vision for me,’ and the second page, a double spread, was ‘Word from God.’ To be honest I don’t even know how I was going to fill them when I made them, but they are empty right now.
So I must have felt, even from the beginning, that my own hopes and dreams were a little over-ambitious, so I made a fail-safe that didn’t depend on me. Only now, the fact the pages are empty and I barely even accomplished even the simplest of my own targets, they have just become another cause for stress.
So now, do I concentrate my efforts on accomplishing as much as I can before I turn 27 or do I give up and ask God for a new plan? That and how do I deal with this fear in my heart that I will amount nothing and accomplish nothing? And how do I hide from everyone else that I right now I way behind on the old plan? A plan I had made myself? A plan, to be honest, I didn’t really share with anyone, so why am I even worried about that? A plan I had made while hoping for a miracle, waiting for the change I know God promised me, where He was making a strong woman of God.
For the first time, and so far the only time in my life – I think, I heard Him speak…I mean, it was kind of a vision but the point is it was from God to me, not through the bible or someone else. He told me He was changing my name, and I believed that now was my time. And yet it feels like nothing has changed. I know and believe that something has shifted, but in the physical, there is no visible change. And to be honest, even in my mind and in my emotions, it still felt like the same cycle of mental & emotional oppression was still reigning. April had come, and I was still the same, or maybe even a little worse? Maybe I had the wrong idea of what being a strong woman of God would entail for me?
And if I really think about, I know change has happened, and not just in my mind and emotions, but I believe that there has been spiritual growth as well. I feel a little more free from a life of self-condemnation, and I have been learning to give myself a little more grace. I accepted the fact that as long as I was worried about it, I might never actually be able to tell the difference between the anxiety and God telling to stop. (Pastor Prince taught us to confess that as children of God we hear His voice and believe that to be true, instead of confessing the opposite…but sometimes, I forget to do that.)
And then there is that fear that I might never change because somehow, somewhere, I am missing something that I am supposed to do. Like maybe I just too comfortable in my misery to ever get up the drive I should have to push forward? A lost cause?
I was also truly afraid of finding myself stuck in Proverbs 19:3, whereby, in my own stupidity I ruin my life and yet in some way blame God for it. ‘I mean God could have stopped me at any time right? So why didn’t He? I have asked Him to take over & nothing has happened.’ And then I jump back to the obvious conclusion that something is wrong with me because Jesus already gave me everything, He died to set me free. He already did His part and now it’s all up to me.
The back and forth is honestly exhausting.
But with the messages of righteousness, I was reminded that when I am established in righteousness, fear and terror will be far from me. If they are far from me, there is no stress and no anxiety, which means peace. And peace means that when God says move, I can hear Him clearly, when He says stop, there will be no doubt it was Him.
Pastor Prince says that the devil operates on fear, while God operates on faith, and that when we fear, we may open the door to something happening in our lives. Even if it’s not an attack from the devil that comes, fear enslaves us in a never-ending fight with our own imagination, and we can make wrong decisions that affect us negatively.
16 for I am not ashamed of the good news of the Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who is believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek. 17 For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it hath been written, `And the righteous one by faith shall live,’
Romans 1:16-19 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
Instead, we should have faith, knowing God can do all things in our lives and He has us covered. The less we worry, the more of God’s protection we experience in our lives. I have faith in God, and I trust Him, but somehow I always find myself battling self-consciousness, which usually leaves me so drained.
But I know that righteousness does not depend on my doing and it is a gift already given. So even if I fail, or lose the battle, I am safe in His righteousness. Plus all things cannot succeed against me because no weapons formed against me shall prosper. And because the righteousness of faith speaks, I need to speak it in my life. I need to confess my righteousness and remind myself who I am and where I stand by speaking out His righteousness to myself.
No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.
And even when it comes to the provisions I need in my life, Jesus said that instead of seeking these things, I need to focus instead on seeking His righteousness. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and the Lord Jesus said this is what I need, and all other things will be added unto me. Notice that righteousness is already a part of the kingdom of God, and yet Jesus mentions it again. So in this one verse, there a double emphasis on seeking the righteousness of God.
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Prince says that we need to be righteousness conscious, and I believe that this is something I truly needed. I have known the message of righteousness for a while now, but being self-conscious was always my downfall. I had moments of righteousness- consciousness that always seemed to get clouded self-consciousness.
My word for 2019 is consciousness, where what I want more than anything is to be conscious of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gift of righteousness. I want to be more conscious of His love and His grace. I want to be able to bring every thought into captivity to His obedience without it being an awful mental battle all the time. I want my natural default to be Jesus and not my inadequacies.
So righteousness consciousness is something I need in full force.
Here are a few links to some blog by Pastor Joseph Prince for those who would love to learn more about being righteousness conscious and being established in the righteousness of God:
Be Established in God’s Righteousness|Joseph Prince
Be Righteousness Conscious | Joseph Prince
Seek First God’s Kingdom | Joseph Prince
What has your experience with His gift of righteousness been? Are you already firmly established in it or you are a work in progress? Comment down below or send me a message, let’s talk about this amazing gift we have been given.