Not in Me
The current She Reads Truth study of Galatians has been profitable for doctrine, for reproving me, for correcting me, and for training me in righteousness. I am still a day behind the community schedule in the reading, but that has turned out to be like King Xerxes reading the records the night before Haman came in to ask about hanging Mordecai (not that anyone is planning on hanging anyone--it's just another incident of God's providential use of timing). With a little backstory, here's how God spoke to me today using yesterday's reading.
A few days ago, I began reading Ruth Chou Simon's new book, Beholding and Becoming. The opening devotion centers on the heart of worship. As part of wanting to see what my use of time might reflect about my worship, yesterday I recorded everything I did on a time sheet. This morning I talked with God about that time sheet and became convicted that I was trying to use numbers to measure my commitment. "See God, I spent as much time in morning devotions and listening to podcasts, as watching TV and working puzzles."
As soon as I thought this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that the point is not numbers, but the focus of my heart. My morning worship and study is rich and beautiful, but I fall into temptation during the day to worship myself (this is not to imply that there is anything wrong per se with TV and mind puzzles, but instead with my reason for pursuing them). To make this self-worship appear excusable, I try to present myself to God as having done things right in exchange.
Whoa! Stop there! Who am I fooling? I have nothing in myself to make me right with God. I cannot offer to him: "[a] list of sins I have not done, [a] list of virtues I pursue, [a] list of those I am not like" and expect to "earn myself a place with" Him.
And so with that conviction weighing on my heart, I opened to Day 15 of the study in Galatians. Opening words: "Tell me, you who want to be under the law, don't you hear the law?" (4:21)
Well. I don't think I want to be under the law after all; I don't want to try to show God those lists because I keep failing. The sins I have done keep showing up, the list of virtues I do not have, the list of those who are better than I am. No more bondage of trying to earn a place for me, please.
The Lord's mercies are truly new every morning. Why he chooses to pursue me with his loving communication every day, I cannot comprehend. His love is vast beyond all measure. I do no not want to live under the law which I cannot keep. No, "my only hope of righteousness is not in me, but only [Him]."
I pray that you too are rejoicing in the freedom of righteousness in Christ alone, that you too are beholding wonderful things in His word, that you too are worshiping with this truth: "Not in Me".