Written by: Nikki Laureano
Good. Blameless. Moral. Just. Righteous.
These aren’t words I would typically choose to describe myself. In fact, there was a time in my life when reading these words made me utterly uncomfortable because I spent several years feeling like I would never quite measure up as a mother, wife, daughter, or friend.
I let the enemy convince me that my sin and shame had ruined my testimony and I truly believed there was no good left in me. “I am not enough; I am not worthy” danced around in my head like a wildfire and I became lost, wandering further away from the cross.
I began to measure my worth based on worldly standards and set my heart’s focus on the crowd around me. I felt pressure to win the attention and affection of others at any cost. God was no longer on my radar, but thankfully, I was and am always on His.
In Jeremiah 23, God is reprimanding the leaders, prophets, and priests for their lack of attention to His “flock”, the people of Israel, causing them to idolize false prophets and wander away from God. But, instead of abandoning or shaming His people, the Lord promises to give them a better leader who will guide them back to the Promise Land. He does not punish them for drifting from His word but comforts them by revealing himself as “Jehovah-Tsidkenu”, the Lord our righteousness.
So, what does that mean for you and me? Why is this so exciting?
“…people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” (Romans 4:5 NLT)
“And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17 NLT)
How amazing is that? Righteousness comes only by faith—not by what we do. It is easy to be misled by the enemy who says “how can you call yourself good? Look at what you have done!”, but faith is recalling that we are not righteous because of what we do or what we don’t do. We are righteous through the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ.
It isn’t something we earn. It is a gift—a priceless gift—given freely to those who simply have faith. And when we believe in that, we can be at peace knowing that we are never too broken to be mended by God. When God looks at us, He sees His “little Christs,” instead of our corruption because our sins were placed on Jesus when He died on the cross.
It took a long time for me to realize that God was not hanging my sins over my head, but instead, He was grieving over them. The opportunity to be forgiven came at the highest price. And the Lord was looking for a way back into my heart so that His blessings could flow abundantly into my life for the glory of the kingdom.
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:6 ESV)
“Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance.” (Proverbs 21:3 MSG)
I had been operating on my own default settings to find merit, and it was not working. The hole I dug for myself continued to deepen. But when I finally surrendered my brokenness to God, great healing began.
Through Christ alone, I became free and whole. I realized that there is always more grace in Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness than there is shame in my past. And instead of hiding in my guilt, I became confident in the struggles God put on my heart and in my path.
This week, I encourage you to stop chasing perfection or the need to perform and instead chase after God. Whatever may be troubling you, surrender. There is no chain too strong for God to break and no pit too deep for Him to rescue you from.
Trade your filthy rags for the precious robe of God’s righteousness and grace. He is the only one worthy of our intentions and our actions. Let Him lead you in His righteousness for His name’s sake. You are no longer your past; you are whole in Him. He is the Lord our righteousness!