Heart Meditations 4 - Whatever is Right - David Mitts
Last chapter we spoke about meditation on honor. Honor is defined by who or what we listen to. We honor those to whom we have opened our hearts to. In a similar fashion dishonor is a state of disregard for the preciousness or value of another. The scriptures speak of vessels that are honored and contrast them with those that are common.
Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? (Rom 9:21 NASB)
An analogy would be the things we reserve for special and important occasions. You might hold back in reserve certain special china or silverware. Perhaps you have certain special jewelry that you only put on for important occasions or with certain people. When the scripture speaks of the same lump providing 2 kinds of vessels, one for honor and one that is common, this is really about the perspective of how we treat others.
This entire chapter of Romans 9 is a commentary on how God who chose Israel was showing favor to the Gentiles. The dilemma is to want to criticize God as unfair. Yet, Paul tells us that:
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, (Rom 9:30-32 NASB).
The key to honor is righteousness which comes by faith, not by the performance of the law of righteousness. This may seem hard to understand and grasp. But, if we look through the eyes of love, things become simple and clear.
Look at righteousness as a description of the rightness of a love relationship. Take a marriage where one person is trying to make everything “right” by doing what is expected, their marital duty. This is like Israel trying to achieve righteousness through their works or the Law. God does not want a bride of works mentality. This is the rip-off of religion! This is a vessel of commonness. You see it is not what we do that makes us righteous or unrighteous. It is why we do what we do.
Pursuing righteousness by faith is not just accepting Jesus into our hearts. That is a beginning for sure, but God desires a living love relationship, which Paul calls “faith”. You see “faith” is more than belief.
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (Jas 2:19 NASB)
Faith is really a way of describing a love relationship. Yes, it begins with belief or if you will trust. You choose to trust another to be faithful to that trust. But you go beyond that the oneness, to yada knowing, and in that place, you move beyond obedience into delight. Your delight opens you up to the secrets that are only divulged to those who desire to beyond the veil of religion into the chamber of love.
This is true righteousness. When Paul instructs us to meditate on “what is right”, he is not speaking about the world of right and wrong. That is so subjective and based on our ability to truly know love.
Most of the “wrongs” we have suffered grip our hearts and bind us to the past. They have the potential through our desire not to be in pain again, they trap us with the lies of self-protection.
Paul says in 1 Cor 13:4-5
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (1Co 13:4-5 NASB)
Love takes no account of a wrong. This means we do not give power to the wrong. It isn’t that we deny the wrong. It happened. BUT if the wrong keeps us trapped in unforgiveness, then it has succeeded in keeping us from love. In this place of unforgiveness, we become like the unrighteous steward who while having the full power of forgiveness available to him to free his heart decided to remain bitter and holds others in the bondage of bitterness.
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. "Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (Mat 18:23-35 NASB)
You see a wrong suffered has tremendous power if we give it that power by meditating on the wrong. This is giving it an account in our heart. This account creates a debt where we “charge” others for our pain. Hurt people hurt others. Why? Because a record of the wrong has created a feeling of evaluating others through the measure of the wrong. It becomes an unjust scale. Like the slave in the above parable, we lose sight of the love that has forgiven us of all of our mistakes and the hurts we have caused Him and His children.
The result of this is a system of self-righteousness that is really a cover-up for the shame we carry in our hearts that leads us to evaluate people and life as either harmful or safe. This drives us and others into performing as the measure of our rightness in life. We drive ourselves mercilessly and give no quarter to others and truly expect no quarter.
Misery becomes our daily companion. This is true unrightness, or as the bible calls it, unrighteousness.
Unrighteousness is not really about doing the wrong things. It is really about using doing as the measure of life. This is a scale of unrighteousness.
Let’s turn and read Proverbs 11 in this light, seeing righteousness as the love that comes by trust or faith:
A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight. (Pro 11:1 NASB)
A false balance is a balance or a measure based on a falsehood. The hurts in our lives leave us closed down to love with an open heart. Instead of seeing people through love, we see them through the potential for harm or for the potential to help us in some way. We are not free in our hearts to love them for who they are. That would be a “just weight” that delights the Lord because it shows His love to them.
In order to evaluate people and situations justly, we need a just standard. The only standard that is truly good is God Himself. Yeshua said it this way:
"So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." Luke 18:19
Because God alone is good, He alone can justly decide who is good or not. This is the just weight that is a delight to the Lord, His own goodness. This quality is also known as righteousness. When God instructs to meditate on what is right, this is from the perspective of His righteousness.
The scripture tells us Jesus became our righteousness.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, (1Co 1:30 NASB)
What does it mean that He is our righteousness? It means He has restored us to a rightful place. What is our rightful place? Sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.
Let’s look at Romans 4:
But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT." Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, "FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. (Rom 4:5-12 NASB)
The conclusion of this passage is that whether we are Jewish or of Gentile descent, through faith we become sons of Abraham who is the covenant father image of Father God. As the sons and daughters of faith, we are made righteous through our faith, our trust in God, and His love for us. In that, we place we now can meditate on our righteousness. In particular, we meditate on His discipline of us.
Discipline is the action of one who is the Father of the one disciplined.
and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES." It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb 12:5-11 NASB)
So, as we meditate on what is right, let us remember that it is the “no’s” of God that trains us in our own misdirection. If we are not hearing no, then we need to consider whether or not we are really sons and daughters. His righteousness, His rightness begins with the yes of the cross but true sonship or daughter includes many corrections, rebukes, and even if necessary a spanking. Let us embrace His corrections knowing that it produces our righteousness.
In the world system, getting a “no” to our desires represents failure. We tend to evaluate ourselves as having failed and needing to fix our flaws and get better. Self-improvement is not in and of itself a bad thing. BUT trying to overcome feelings of being a failure when we don’t achieve something can cause us to become works-oriented. Trusting God, achieving our righteousness through our relationship with Him, can transform us from the system of darkness into light. Darkness exists where there is no light of His light. He frees us from scheming into the peace that passes our understanding as we present our requests to Him and trust Him in His discipline. He is more concerned about us owning our victories than our achieving them. We are disciples of the Master and so He will train us in righteousness so we can likewise master our lives.
Activation: What setback in your life have you felt was a personal failure? Maybe you did fail but God has a purpose in the setback. He is using it to perfect the righteousness that is Christ in you the hope or promise of Glory.