My husband worked in the lighting industry for nearly 30 years. As a result he became very accustomed to handling (literally) electricity. Don’t try this trick at home! He would take a cord with wires exposed at one end, plug it into the wall; hold the live wires between the fingers of one hand and in the other hand hold the base of a light bulb. The bulb would light up with seemingly no ill effects on my husband. Now, obviously his ability to keep the bulb burning for any length of time, or his ability to run enough power through his body to run appliances or to supply a house – not going to happen! It’s impossible. I chose that example because so often what we try to do as Christians is to be our own power source to put ourselves in right standing, to be considered righteous enough by God to receive blessings from Him. It is as impossible for us to make ourselves righteous enough to receive anything from God as it is for a human being to be the source of electricity to run a household. We readily receive the concept of the free gift of salvation, but struggle to equally accept the concept of the free gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). We struggle to learn to pray just right so that we can hopefully get God to decide to move in our favor. We make a valiant attempt to regularly attend our religious activities to prove how serious and worthy we are. We make New Year’s resolutions to become a better person. We promise God that we will clean up our language, or quit yelling at the kids (or spouse), or . . . . . The list is endless. Then inevitably we, in our humanness, fail. Then we fall on our knees begging God for His forgiveness, hoping that we are being humble enough to prove to God that we mean it so that He will forgive us and hopefully bless us again. Sound familiar? Who needs 6 Flags? That is a gruesome roller coaster ride! It’s not that any of those things are bad things to do. In fact they are all good things. But if you are doing them to get into God’s good graces, they are totally worthless – dead works.
In that struggle, whether you realize it or not, your constant focus is your failure and your sin, and hoping that you have done enough to get yourself on the right track. Often we hear teaching from all kinds of sources that say whatever you are focusing on, that’s what you are going to get. Or, something along the lines of, whatever you continually say to a child, be it positive or negative, that’s what they will believe about themselves; that’s what they will become. Apply that process to your righteousness. If you are constantly looking at your failure, at your sin, at your ability to overcome; at your ability to get God to bless you, then that is all you will ever have - your sin and your ability. Thinking that you can qualify to get God to bless you in any way by your actions, no matter how noble, is like thinking that you could be the power source to light up the city of New York should they have another black-out!
Then how do we receive His blessings? By focusing our attention on the right thing – His righteousness. Remember, what you look at, focus on, is what you become. When we are born again our spirit becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). That new creation is clothed in the free gift of His righteousness (Romans 5:17). Our physical, emotional being is being transformed to match what our spirit already is. When you know and confess (agree with) your new position of righteousness in Christ, His ability, power, and strength are released in your life to make real and lasting transformations way beyond your ability. In that moment of failure, don’t dwell on the failure. Why dwell on it, you’ll only make it bigger! Confess it, agreeing that it is something that needs to be dealt with. Then look at His righteousness covering you as the new creation. That is true humility, knowing and confessing that it is His work and only His work that has already put you in right standing with God. And in so doing has placed you in a position to be “blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Which “socket” are you plugged into?
Know that you are blessed, Linda