Righteousness is a word that gives me a curiously unpleasant feeling inside. My mind immediately goes to self-righteous people and to my own lack of righteousness.
I have never done many things “right.”
I was reading today in Matthew 3:13-17 and there’s something I don’t understand. Jesus said he wanted to be baptized to, “fulfill all righteousness.” But he never sinned, from the moment he was born till the day he died he never ever sinned. Seems like that would “fulfill all righteousness” better than getting dunked in the water. And John’s baptism was for repentance, he was calling people to turn away from the things they were doing wrong. He even challenges Jesus on this, basically saying, “what do you have to be sorry for?”
I know I’ve done wrong, a lot. Why is this story there?
Maybe, just maybe, I need to see how Jesus laid down his life before he ever did anything. Sure, he gave up his life to complete his work on the earth. He was a miracle worker and teacher by then, a certified leader, a rabbi. But God didn’t even call his son to ministry until after Jesus laid down his will, his life through the act of baptism.
Many of us want to be used to do something great for God. I certainly do. What am I holding onto? What am I unwilling to submit to? What can I just not lay down? It is likely the same thing that is keeping me from freedom, binding me to depression, holding victory and peace just beyond my reach.
And I’m sick of it. I’m tired of holding on to what is actually killing me.
I’ll never be righteous but I’ll step closer as I open my hands.