Banishing Self-Righteousness

Message: We can’t earn eternal life based on good works because it would be impossible for us to accomplish. Jesus emphasized this truth very clearly when the rich young ruler came and asked what good he must do when he answered with “Why do you ask what is good? There is only one who is good.” Then he told him to keep the commandments. I love how the man asked him “which ones?” and then answered like oh yeah! “I have kept all of these. What else do I lack?”. I’m just speculating here but it seems to me that he really believed he was all good and I can’t help but wonder if he asked these questions with the motivation of putting himself on display thinking Jesus would commend him. Instead, Jesus reached for the heart issue that was holding him back when he told him to sell all of his belongings and give them to the poor and then follow him. This was not a new command that Jesus was giving us to follow. It was a command that he gave this man that revealed the non-negotiable thing in this man’s heart.

Command: Live out the commands from the heart, and not by the letter of the law.  Doing this will shatter the tendency to look for loopholes and qualifications because my heart and motive change.

Promise: Heart change is far more satisfying than living religiously.

Warning: Religion leads to self-righteousness. If am concerned about fulfilling rules and laws without addressing the motivation behind these things I can completely miss the point and deceive myself.

Application: Instead of asking questions like “is it wrong to…” and need to rephrase questions to ask things like “is it beneficial to…” When I ask these questions I need to include more people than myself when considering if it’s beneficial. This will expose selfish motives.

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