Real Righteousness

When I was in college I visited a Hindu temple with some friends.  While there, I noticed a man in the corner sitting with his legs crossed and his right arm stretched upward.  He was frail and had a long grey beard.  I stopped paying attention to the nice lady giving a tour and kept watching the man.  He sat there motionless, almost in a trance like state.  It was fascinating.  He seemed so spiritual.  Separated.  Enlightened.  The tour lady couldn’t help but notice me distracted and graciously answered the puzzled look on my face,  “Oh, that’s one of our righteous men.  He has had his hand up for several days now.”

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.(1)

One of the most revolutionary concepts Jesus taught was his idea of righteousness.  He described a righteousness that draws us into relationship and community rather than removed from it.  Our righteousness is determined by our capacity to love rather than our separation from culture.  Jesus’ posture looked to proclaim the truth instead of protect it.(2)

I wonder how different I am from my bearded friend.  I wonder if most of the people Jesus talked to would have made me feel uncomfortable.  He’d probably annoy me and I’d wonder why he didn’t spend more time at church.  I wonder if I’d start making excuses to not hang out with him anymore and listen to a sermon on my iPod instead.  I wonder if I’d even gossip about him at my three small groups and two worship services I attended that week and complain how worldly Christians are now a days.

Is my idea of righteousness nothing more than Christian comfort? Have I become so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good?  If Jesus leads people into the world and I don’t go, can I even say I’m following him?  Do I check off the christian boxes of belief but am functionally Hindu?

Dear Jesus, may we pursue a real righteousness today.

1.  John 17:15,16

2. Dear well meaning Christian, please stop fighting people that think differently than you…  Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” – John 18:36

Just A Well

A long time ago I gave Jesus my life.  I figured if he died for me the least I could do was live for him.  I remember that decision feeling very satisfying at the time but years later I’m wondering if I really meant it.  I mean, I gave him all of the ugly parts of my life like some destructive habits and my short temper.  I even gave him all the spiritual parts of my life like I started reading the Bible and going to church on Sundays and even Wednesdays.

But what about the rest?

What about the Tuesday morning while I’m stuck in traffic sipping coffee?  Or what about the Thursday evening when I’m making dinner for my family?  What about the ordinary, mundane, seemingly insignificant parts of my life? Did God get those?  Because here’s the scary part…

The ordinary represents most of my life.

Most of my life is not a deep dark sin or an inspiring worship service or devotional.  Most of life is pretty, well, boring.  What if the ordinary parts of my life could become extraordinary if I gave those over to God as well?  Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus meant when he constantly went on about if you lose your life for my sake, then you’ll really find it.(1)  What if I’m missing something very profound by assuming God has no interest in my ordinary?

 “so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her,…”(2)

I enjoy this story because of the mundane nature of it all.  I mean, it’s just a well.  Jesus is tired and waiting on his friends to bring some food and something significant occurs.  Jesus takes the ordinary of his life and creates something controversial, unexpected, and divine.  His life fully belongs to the Father and it shows.

Is whether or not Jesus has my life revealed while I wait for my latte to be made or how high my hands are raised during Sunday’s worship?

I mean, it’s just another barista.

It’s just a job.

It’s just a movie.

It’s just money.

It’s just a date.

It’s just most of my life.

Oh, by the way, that ordinary conversation with the woman at the well turned out pretty well.  Most of the town “gave their lives to Jesus” and he stayed there two more days just to celebrate.  The ordinary became extraordinary.  This sort of thing seemed to happen all the time around Jesus.  The ordinary mattered.  Life became abundant.  It’s not just a well.

I’m convinced if I’ve really given Jesus my life that tomorrow has to be more than just a Friday.  It has to be more than just a commute.  She has to become more than just a barista.  It has to become more than just a job.  What if God has something extraordinary in store?

1.  Matthew 10:39

2.  John 4:6-7