I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. - Philippians 3:9 (The Message)
Do you ever get caught up in following rules? There is something in our nature that seems to draw us towards rules and regulations, especially when it comes to trying to be a “good person.”
In this passage for today, Paul is telling us there is a better way to be “good.” Paul didn’t want to be good, to be righteous, by completing some checklist. He found a better way in Jesus. Paul calls this God’s righteousness. See, Paul knows what it was like to try to follow rules and jump through hoops to be “good.” That was what his life was focused on before he knew Jesus. As a religious elite, following the rules became like a God to him. With Jesus, he knew all that effort was worthless.
Paul suggests for us to trust Christ. Well… trust Christ in what? It seems Paul is talking about trusting that Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. It was that act of love that makes God’s righteousness available to us all.
So it’s not about the rules. The rules that Paul is ditching were supposed to point people toward God, but the rules themselves became an idol. If Jesus is our focus, we don’t have to worry about earning our goodness. We inherit the goodness of Christ.
Take a few minutes and think about some ways you try to be “good” by your own effort. How has that worked out for you?
What would it look like for you to trust in Jesus, that His righteousness is extended to you?
Finally, spend a couple moments in prayer with Jesus to help reveal how you might be trying to follow rules in areas where you should be trusting in Jesus.