I wash my hands probably 50 times a day, because I work in a hospital and I know the tinniest of things can wreak havoc in a person’s system. One germ may be the difference between joy and tragedy.
In the same way, if we don’t keep our souls clean, a small little sin can infect us and grow into huge problems for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the church as a whole. One particular germ I’m thinking of today is called self-righteousness, and it is a nasty little germ that does a lot of harm to the body of Christ.
I have fallen victim to this disease before myself. I admit it. And though I thought I was very close to God, I was actually far away. That’s because self righteousness causes a false perception. It affects our spiritual eye-sight. It makes us see ourselves as healthy when actually we’re very ill.
The first symptom is a tiny little voice that might whisper: “God loves you because you do all the right things, and avoid doing the wrong things like those other people.” No, God loves you simply because he chooses to, and he chooses to love everyone, no matter what they’ve done or will do. We are saved by grace, not by works. There is nothing we ourselves can do to make ourselves right in God’s eyes.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.Isaiah 64:6
I’d like you to read this short object lesson below:
A Tale of Two Dollars
There was once a one dollar bill that was first used as part of a tithe to the Lord. Then later it became part of a financial blessing to a widow. Then later on it was used to help buy food for a homeless person. The dollar did good work.
There was another one dollar bill, just like the first, except it was first used to buy drugs for an addict. Then later it was used as part of bribe of a politician. Finally it ended up as one of several thousand used to pay a hit-man to commit murder. This dollar never did any good.
Now here’s the question: if you take both dollars to the bank, which is worth more to the banker?
They’re both of equal value to the banker. They are both worth the same to him.
No matter if you’re the “good” dollar or the bad one, God loves you just the same and values you just the same. To God, we are all infinitely valuable. No matter what we’ve done. He waits to forgive us and make us clean and new.
It is only grace and grace alone that justifies us, that is, God’s unwarranted, undeserved favor and forgiveness. If you must do anything to gain your salvation, it is simply this: you must accept and confess Jesus as the sacrifice for your sinful (human) nature.
The self-righteous believe that a person does good deeds to be “right” with God, but actually it is the other way round, we do good deeds because God loved us before we loved him. If you love God you will want to do the right thing, you will be sensitive to his spirit and leading, you will be eager to do His will.
Jesus did not keep company with the religious leaders or those that thought themselves righteous. No, Jesus loved being around the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the thieves, the drunkards, and the other outcast. Sad to say, I don’t think Jesus would want to hang out with most “church folk” these days.
The second symptom is a lack of humility. I’ve been told that I write fairly well, but I know that’s only because before I was even born, God gave me that talent.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” - Jeremiah 1:5
It’s not mine at all, it’s His. He’s only loaned it to me, and whenever God gives you something, he expects you to do something with it that is of benefit to others, not for selfish ambition or gain.
Read Matthew 25:14-30
Everything you’re reading now was inspired by God. The Holy Spirit is the author, I am only the stenographer. My only hope is that I have done it justice. I try to remember that I am nothing apart from Christ. He is my power source, my muse, and my inspiration. I can do nothing apart from him, well, not anything that will have eternal value. If I write a book about children using witchcraft and it sells millions of copies, I may make billions of dollars, but when I stand before God what will I say? “You gave me a talent, and I used it to make worthless money, not to glorify you or to help others. I used my talent to help myself.” Will God say to me: “Well done, good and faith servant”?
The third symptom is an attitude of judgment. I’ve seen this first hand and it’s ugly. I’ve seen and heard people whisper about others as they enter the house of God. Saying things like: “That’s ole so and so, they had an affair last year. I hope they don’t join here.” “Look at her sitting there on the front pew with all those tattoos on her arms. God doesn’t like that.”
Remember the two dollars. To God everyone’s worth the same. No matter what you’ve done or what you look like, and if anyone tells you different, they are not close to God and I’d say they have no idea what God likes or doesn’t like. They are hypocrites and Pharisees.
They are only two kinds of people in this world today: the saved and the lost. It is not the job of the church to judge. It is the job of the church to love. We do not make disciples by turning people away. What if Christ had done that!?
The cure is simple.
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Love your neighbor as yourself, or if I may say it this way: Love people the way God loves them, not expecting or wanting anything in return, not even simple recognition. The Father sees your good deeds from heaven, even if the rest of the world does not. If you take your focus off yourself and place it on God and others, you’ll find the spiritual blindness caused by the disease of self righteousness goes away and suddenly you will see clearly. (Read Acts chapter 9)
If you think you may be infected, there’s the cure. It’s free and it’s 100% effective. Thanks for reading and may God bless you.