Getting caught up in desiring to be righteous can be a very tricky thing. What I mean is, wanting to do what is right simply because it’s righteous isn’t going to get us very far. Believe it or not that’s exactly what the religious leaders of Jesus’s day were doing. If we are going to have genuine and pure righteousness we must first understand what Godly love is, and once we learn to apply this love, then righteousness will flow freely from us.
As crazy as this may sound, many people try to belittle themselves into being righteous, but obtaining righteousness this way will be short lived and never enjoyed. Negative never produces positive. First, you must KNOW that God loves you both deeply, and immeasurably. Then, learn to let that love flow from you to others. Once we can make these two steps a part of our daily routine, we no longer beg God to make us righteous because it will be an automatic byproduct of our peace, and not something we are trying to beat ourselves into.
There’s a story Jesus tells in Matthew chapter 13 about four types of hearts. He tells us this story to show us what type of heart is on display within our own lives.
The first is the heart like a path. This heart is so trampled down by life’s struggles that it can’t receive anything good, and as a result, Satan comes quickly and steals all the good that’s been placed there.
The second is the heart that’s like rocky ground. This heart receives the good for only a moment, but when tough times come, the good dies out quickly.
The third heart is the thorny ground. At first, these also chose to do good for God, but concern for riches, and their worries about life caused the good to fade out and eventually die.
The Good Ground
The fourth is the good ground. These grow into a strong faith and remain dedicated to Christ, no matter difficult times that come their way. They remain faithful, true, and loving, even when others don’t love them in return. They forgive, and then let go of the offense. They give and expect nothing in return. These are the good soil.
Notice all the distractions that make for a bad heart? These distractions represent our choices, and when the heartaches of life comes our way, the choices we make shape us. When temptation arise and we want recognition, our actions define us.
We are the ones who choose to be the man or woman God as called us to be, not God, not Satan. And when we make the choice to serve God, we are not only choosing it for ourselves, but we are also choosing it for our loved ones, our co-workers, our friends, and yes even neighbors. We will either choose right living, or we will justify why it’s, “too hard to be Christlike” or, “not convenient at this time”. The fact is, we never justify any lack of love or kindness that someone else should show to us in our lives, so why do we justify holding ourselves to a lesser standard than that of what love is asking us to do?
Remember, you decide what type of soil is in your heart, and that choice, it’s what you’re living with right now.