Moxie Memorizers :: A Guest Post

Saturday, September 01, 2012  ::  

My friend, Jonathan, is sharing some wonderful thoughts on living a righteous life with us today. It is obvious he love God's word. He is a man who invites the Spirit to speak deeply to him and when Jonathan hears from God, he seeks to obey. Please don't read his word just for information. Let them challenge you. Think deeply about your own pursuit of living a holy life to the glory of God. How is the scripture you are memorizing transforming you more into the image of Christ? 

Jonathan, you had some "awesome" pics to choose from on Facebook. I think I was merciful in choosing this Hello Kitty photo.  This one highlights your style and your smile, two of your terrific outward qualities. 

There are few things that get me more pumped than to tell people how God enabled me to live righteously. Why? Because it's so simple, yet the results are so profound.

Trying to live a righteous life can be one of the most tiring and frustrating aspects of following Jesus. For most of my life I struggled with living righteously; but now, thanks to the grace of God it's not hard. So, what is the secret? I think the best way to see how it happened in my life is for me to share my journey.

I've had the deck stacked in my favor. Born to parents who are both believers, I received Christ as my savior when I was about five years old and I've been going to church ever since I was born. I went to Christian school for 8 years and seminary for 5. See the secret? You just need a lot of Christian education... actually no. 

One would think a person surrounded by so much Christian stuff would have figured out how to live righteously; but honestly, even while in seminary sin would get me defeated and I'd feel like a failure.

Everything started to change when a friend shared a teaching series based on 
Philippians 3:9 (ESV) 
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith 

This was totally new to me. It isn't as if I had never read or heard the verse before, but no one had ever pounded into my spirit that we have “righteousness from God that depends on faith.” He went on and on and on about how we don't work for righteousness, but that it comes to us by faith. So, what is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 (ISV) 
1 Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see. 

Faith is my confidence in the things I hope for with certainty in the things I cannot see. So, putting these two things together I have to believe that righteousness comes by my belief in God's truth even in the midst of not seeing it in my life. When I don't see myself living righteously I must believe that I will be living Christ's righteousness. 

Let's take it a step further. Even in the midst of my sinning, I must believe that I have the righteousness of Christ. It's not that I had it or that I will have it, but that I have it in that very moment.

What else does the Bible say? What else should we believe? 
Matthew 5:6 (ESV) 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

Jesus said that if we long for righteousness we shall get it. Boom! Done! This is a wonderful promise! And still God has more for us.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (ISV) 
30 It is because of him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who for us has become wisdom from God, as well as our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 

Jesus IS our righteousness and we know that his righteousness has no darkness in it. So, even in the midst of our sinning Christ is our righteousness. It's not just His, it is ours. Your righteousness is perfect.
This is so wonderful, but wait, there is even more!

2 Peter 1:3–4 (ESV) 
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 

Do you notice what this passage says? It says God HAS granted (Past tense)  ALL (nothing missing) things that pertain to life and godliness. This comes through the knowledge of Jesus, which comes through Scripture (John 5:39). Additionally, He HAS granted to us “his precious and very great promises.” And we HAVE “escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

If this passage doesn't get you extremely pumped to know Jesus more and more, and to find God's promises in Scripture then you should probably read the verse several hundred times - at least.

These verses alone would be wonderful enough, but let me tell you about how God did even more amazing work in my spirit. He took me through a familiar passage into unfamiliar territory.

Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV) 
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

I had gone to church many years and my mind stopped at verse 12 and I thought I had to work so hard to mature, but one day He opened my mind to verse 13. 

I saw truth I had not seen before. God is working in me. And if there is one person I can trust to do a perfect job it is God.

There has been no more influential verse in my life over the last several years.

Jesus is the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” If God is working, then I don't have to stress out about the challenge that stands before me when I face temptation. I might mess up, but God is still working. Why do I stress out about messing up when I know God is working on me?

Since God is working on you, you will surely have His holy will and you will surely do His righteous works. He wants to take pleasure in you. He loves you. That is why He never gives up on you. 

In the midst of messing up, remember that you have the righteousness of Christ and God is working to make it manifest in your life. Remember that your righteousness comes from believing this truth even when you don't see it.

As my journey in righteousness continued God taught me how I should think about my forgiven sins. Part of feeling defeated about my sin was that I remembered I failed – that I had sinned.

One day God reminded me of verses I had heard many times
Isaiah 43:25 (ESV) 
25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. 
Ephesians 5:1 (ESV) 
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 

Since I am called to imitate God, and He remembers my sin no more for his sake, then I should remember my sins no more. Of course, this had always been hard on my own, but when I realized that this was God's will I asked Him to change me. It's pretty awesome when you know you messed up, but by God's grace the remembrance of past sin is fuzzy.

This revelation along with Philippians 2:13 have radically changed my life. If I sin, I ask for forgiveness. I don't remember it and move forward. For freedom Christ as set us free! (Galatians 5:1) We are free from our past!

Lately, I've been meditating on 
Psalm 1:2–3 (ESV) 
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 

I have seen this verse be true. As I have dwelt upon God's truth, He has grown me. He has brought forth fruit of righteousness. It didn't happen immediately. The tree brings forth its fruit in its season. 

Your fruit of righteousness will come in its season. God is patient with us and He wants us to tell stories of supernatural changes that happened instantaneously as well as the supernatural changes that took years to manifest. Each fruit has it's own delightful taste. Rest in Him. He will do it.

The process took time, but it was simple. I sought truth in Scripture. I asked Him to conform me to it. I dwelt not on my efforts or failures, but on His ability and victory. I left it up to Him and saw change happen to me.

And so I leave you with this
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 (ESV) 
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 

Please post your verses. Also, pray for Jonathan as he seeks to live a life of freedom that is pleasing to Jesus! Pray also for yourself that you will be obedient to God's call to be holy as He is holy. Ask Him to deepen your understanding of living the righteous live that He is working in you for His good pleasure!

14 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Janice... said...

Getting back in the habit...

Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Nicky said...

This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing Jonathan. I loved hearing about your passion and parts of your story.

Here are my verses for the first half of the month. I am going to challenge myself to memorize a larger chunk than I have before.

Proverbs 31:12-17
She does him good not harm all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

Jayson and Heather Talag said...

It's been a few months but here's the verse on my heart lately:
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:10-11

Tia Edwards said...

Continuing on in Psalm 51 with verse 3 and 4:
For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgement.

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing your passion for Jesus with us Jonathan! Great words that I will probably need to reread because there was so much there. Like drinking out of a fire hose. :)

Jeremiah 29:12-13 NIV: Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Romans 1:16 NIV: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Unknown said...

I agree with Emily! My 21st century brain had to read it in sections with breaks in between.

I'm also with Emily on the verse front:
Jeremiah 29:11-12, ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

Angela DeSoto said...

"Like drinking out of a fire house" -Emily
Totally agree. I'll definitely have to/want to read over this again to not miss anything.
I'm continuing on in Col 3, focusing on vs 15.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

Jenna said...

I agree with the others- I want to re-read it over and over to make sure I am really soaking it all in :) Thanks Jonathan!

I have a few new ones that I am really excited about. I guess post-wedding season means i have more brain space.

2 Corinthians 6:13 "In return, (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also."

Psalm 34:17-18 "When the righteous cry out for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit."

Jen Griffith said...

Isaiah 26:3 ESV
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Monique said...

Ephesians 6:10-18 The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Erin Phillips said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Jonathan! I ditto everyone else in that you gave us a lot to mull over. But it's definitely good! I especially liked the Phil 2:12-13 verse...what a wonderful reminder that we are not alone in our pursuit of God. He's already way ahead in his pursuit of us! That one's definitely on my list of verses to memorize.

It's been a while since I've remembered to actually post on here but I've been reviewing old verses that need to be strengthened. I went through all of my verses from when I was in East Asia and thought, "what have I been doing since I got back!?" I was amazed to see just how many verses God put on my heart to memorize over there and yet 2 years later I've only added about half that number. While there, those verses were so real and I clung to them for support and growth. I need double that in the states where it's so easy to fall into a routine and forget to turn my head and heart towards God. So for this half of the week I'm reviewing one old verse and memorizing a new one.

Psalm 19:14 (NIV)
"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

1 Cor 2:5 (ESV)
"that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Monique said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laura k. moore said...

thanks so much for sharing your journey into righteousness johnathan! dependency on christ is something that i struggle with constantly. I sure would "like" to be more self-sufficient (no i would not) but the beauty of my NEED for Christ makes the image of the cross BLAZE much more brilliantly!...thank you for sharing weakness and need. there is such great strength and leadership found in that kind of vulnerability! thanks brother!

i'm working on colossians 1:3-6

3 fWe always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.

Erin Fabry said...

"Blessed is the man whose trust is in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV

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