Take the Pressure Right Off!

For the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. JAMES 1:20 AMP 

As we read today’s verse, we might suddenly get tripped up on the concept of righteousness. In all candor, it is a spiritual ideal that trips us all up, whether we are dealing with anger or any number of other issues. One way to describe righteousness is “being in right standing with God.” But no matter how hard we try, “self” just keeps getting in our way!  

In fact, have you ever met anyone who dripped with self-righteousness? Jesus is not big on the smuggishness of a “self” mindset. He told us in this parable, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10–14 ESV ). 

Then, how are we to do this real and righteous and impossible thing for the Lord? 

When Jesus asks us to be righteous, He doesn’t mean for us to be fueled by “self.” He wants us to be propelled with His supernatural power—not ours. Big difference. What a relief, actually, since it takes the pressure right off us. One can feel the weariness of the endless striving just melt away. Ahhhhh. 

Lord, thank You that I don’t have to rely on my own grit to do life, but that I can do all things through You. Amen. 

This is an excerpt from Pure Joy: A 90 Day Devotional in the Book of James – a devotional now available on DaySpring.com. Shop all books, journals, and devotions from DaySpring here.