I do not know about you, but I had struggles with self-righteousness and condemnation. One night when I prayed and listened to the Father, He said to me, “Now go back to sleep.” Watching the time, I said, “So soon?” I thought I should stay maybe for 2 hours. But He taught me it’s not religion, but it’s relationship. It doesn’t have a formula like 2 hours per day or so. Although I wrote to you that it’s fellowship & relationship with Him, not religiosity, I still felt guilty if I were half-asleep and went back to sleep so soon. On February 18th, I got up around 3am, and wrote down some of the dreams I had. After that, I was still sleepy, but thought to myself, “No, I must intercede for those in the prayer list. I must do that, to enter into Holy of Holies.” The night before I slept, I watched a pastor’s sermon on Holy of Holies. And he talked about golden incense which is in front of the veil before Holy of Holies. Understanding golden incense represents prayers and worship, I thought to myself that I must pray for others. Then, I couldn’t stand more than 30 minutes, extremely sleepy. Soon enough, I went back to sleep, feeling guilty. Then, I had a dream where I was carrying a bicycle in a campus. I didn’t even ride on a bicycle, but carried it and walked through rocky steps. They looked so hard and challenging, and I found myself ending up reaching a dead-end. And I had to go back all the way down, still carrying the bicycle. It was a burden. When I awoke from the dream, I knew bicycle would mean works, works of the flesh, legalism, self-righteousness, etc. And the rocky steps reminded me of what I saw in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, in a modern version of animation. The law or legalism was presented as scary rocky mountains or so. I interpret being in a campus as my being in the learning process (like all we are in our lifetime). I knew He was trying to teach me through the dream, and I asked Him what He exactly meant by bicycle. And He made me realize the thoughts I had during my prayer earlier on that day. I still thought I should do something in order to get to Holy of Holies. So, I have to pray long for others, and I should stay long enough for me to be satisfied. I turned the time for relationship with Him into religious rituals to achieve something. And He reminded me of what I recently reread. About 3 weeks ago, during my prayer at night, He said, “I will teach you on righteousness.” And I felt I would reread the chapter, Jehovah Tsidkenu—the Lord my righteousness of a David Wilkerson’s book, Knowing God by Name. I’d like to share part of it:
“The righteousness of God is a gift, one that must be credited to us. It comes unearned, undeserved and unmerited. Indeed, the Lord must initiate the process by which we receive His righteousness. Then, after giving us a desire to be righteous, He must come to us carrying cleansing fire from His altar, to purge us and make us holy in His sight. How do we become candidates for this gift of righteousness? It happens only when we admit with true conviction, “Woe is me—I have failed. I am helpless, Lord, finished, undone. Without You, I am a dead man.”
Yet, in practical terms, many of us still believe that God expects more from us than faith. Deep down, we tell ourselves that we do not pray enough, give enough or sacrifice enough. We think God expects us to be more diligent, more disciplined and more faithful. Something inside us keeps insisting, “I can’t be righteous before the Lord without more effort, more pain, more struggle.” So our flesh jumps in and tries to help God make us righteous. Yet, all along, the only thing God has asked of us is simply to trust Him to do what He has already promised. Beloved, this is the very kind of unbelief that kept Israel out of the Promised Land. The Israelites’ sin was not just idolatry or adultery. It was unbelief—their lack of faith in God to do for them what He had promised.
this self-condemnation is the result of judging righteousness by outward appearances. The truth is, some people who led lives of sacrifice remained sinful in God’s eyes. Why? They never fully trusted that He would be their righteousness. Instead they relied on their own works and goodness.
God does not want your home, your car, your furniture, your savings or the rest of your possessions. All He wants is your faith—your strong belief in His Word. You may be tempted to look at another person as being more spiritual than you. But that person could actually be struggling hard to keep up an appearance of righteousness. As God looks at you, He declares, “There is a righteous man or woman!” Why? Because you have admitted your helplessness and you have trusted in the Lord to give you His righteousness.”
Does this speak to you, too? I don’t know how many times I fell into this trap of self-righteousness and legalism. I got to hear Sister Margaret talk about righteousness in Chinese, again. The Chinese letter Righteousness consists of two different letters in it. Upper letter is Lamb and under the letter Lamb is the letter, Me. So, only under Jesus’ righteousness, I am righteous. Friend, you and I are accounted for righteousness, only when we believe in Jesus and His promises. Because of Him, the veil in front of Holy of Holies was already torn apart. If you’re like me, I pray that you and I are set free from legalism and self-righteousness. Only by Jesus’ righteousness, we become righteous. We believe in Him and by Him, we have access to the Father and to Holy of Holies.
Have a bliss!
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,