And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.
Phillipians 1:9-11 NIV
How many people do you know that you consider to live a righteous life? How many people do you know that at one time you would have said they lived a righteous life but now they have fallen? If we are completely honest, the track record of people living a righteous life is not good. If you know one person who has lived a righteous life, you are blessed. We recognize that righteous lives are few, yet as christians we continually strive and live in guilt when we are not obtaining it. Even in my own life it seems as if righteousness is this intangible thing that one day will apppear in my life if somehow I work hard enough or have enough of a spiritual experience.
This kind of belief has only lead to perpetual frustration. It causes us to go round and round in circles not achieving anything, hoping one day we will get to our final destination.
How can this kind of life be stopped? How can those of us who want to live a righteous life actually do it? Is it even possible to overcome all of our defiencies and sins and finally get to live out the calling of God we desperately long to live?
In Phillipians 1:9-11, Paul is praying for the Phillipian Church to be filled with righteousness. As an apostole, he desired this for the people who God put under his care. In this prayer, however, he does not start off with saying, "God please, just do what you have to do to make sure these people are righteous at your coming." He begins his prayer with praying for their love to continue to grow. He also prays that this love would be in knowledge and depth of insight.
What is this knowledge and depth of insight in? It is in the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is in this knowledge of God that love grows and is able to produce the righteousness many of us feel guilty everyday for not having.
If you find yourself frustrated today because you guilty for not living up to what you feel called to do for God, remind yourself of who God is. It is the knowing God not intellectually but personally (like you know a friend) that produces righteousness. When any of us try to produce righteousness on our own we fail.
If you happen to be one of the few who feel like you are living right in the will of God, I encourage you not to forget where your righteousness is coming from. Continue to get to know God more and more. Pride goes before the fall. When any of us stop pursuing him and stop getting to know him our love and righteousness stops too.
Today, wherever you are at in your spiritual walk be encouraged. Producing righteousness is not your job. Your job is to continue to get to know God everyday and then the fruit of righteousness will come in due season. The roots of righteousness are intimacy with God. As Christians, we continue to deepen the roots and God produces the fruit!
Written By: Danielle O'Neil @danielleoneil.com