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For the week of September 13, 2021 Moving Away from Self-Righteousness

We all want others to see us favorably. It’s normal to want to be considered virtuous and morally upstanding, but we need to put righteousness in perspective. The mistake most people make is trying to be righteous through their own efforts, which amounts to self-righteousness. Instead of working hard to look good in front of others, going by God’s definition of what it means to be in right-standing with Him frees us from useless striving.

During His ministry, Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee who compared himself to the publican. The Pharisee was puffed up, proud, and convinced of his own righteousness. Like the Pharisee, we, too, can fall into the trap of self-righteousness if we think we’re superior to others because of our performance. God saw the humble publican as righteous and justified, rather than the Pharisee.

God doesn’t think like us; His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. What we think is great He thinks of as rubbish. Our righteousness is like filthy rags. Meditating on this difference in thinking can humble us to the point where we abandon our self-righteousness and let God move us toward genuine humility.

A refusal to submit to God’s Word is an indication of pride; God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Our righteousness comes from Jesus’ righteousness and our faith in that. We comply with His Word when we accept that He became sin on our behalf so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God. Because of God, we’re in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

Trusting in Jesus, not in our own good works, positions us to receive God’s unmerited, undeserved favor. We could never earn it. Accepting this definition of righteousness instead of the world’s of self-righteousness gives us a level of freedom than comes straight from heaven.


Lord, Your Son went to the cross, died, and was resurrected to free us from our own efforts to be righteous in Your eyes. Now, all we need to be in right-standing with You is faith in what He did. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Luke 18:9-14

Isaiah 55:8, 9

Isaiah 64:6

James 4:6

2 Corinthians 5:21

1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV

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