Righteousness, found only in Your face You see my heart, You extend Your grace
Those are two of my favorite lines in the song Never Going Back by United Pursuit, and they're lyrics the Lord started to unpack with me lately.
It has been a bit of a dry season for me recently. Not living in sin, not angry with the Lord, just dry. My flesh took this dryness as an opportunity to try to gain some ground in me. I felt it, but was having a tough time dealing with it due to the dryness.
So I was in my prayer closet one morning hoping to feel His presence, and He put these three words/phrases on my heart:
My safe place
There was no grand epiphany that followed and I had no idea what to do with them, so I just wrote them on post-its and stuck them to my prayer wall to see what the Lord would do with them in the coming weeks.
Well, three or four days later...
I was looking back at the dryness of the previous two weeks, and the Lord started a domino effect in my heart with those three phrases.
I was coming face-to-face with the reality of what my heart is without Him. It's dark, it's purposeless and it's unrighteous. And by unrighteous, I mean it's lacking any righteousness at all in and of itself. So begins the domino effect...
1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption..."
The Bible is clear, in more places than the verse above, that Jesus IS our righteousness- our only righteousness. To fully and completely understand what that means and why it's something we should cling to and cherish, we have to understand our own unrighteousness. Isaiah 64:6 lays it out like this, "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment..."
Our best attempt to be our own righteousness is still unclean. Talk about a pride-check. Coming face-to-face with that reality in life is a relatively dark place to be for a moment, but not when we have a safe place to run to with it.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
- Psalm 91:4
And so continues this domino effect. He's my safe place. When I face the fact of my unrighteousness without Christ it's dark, but beautiful. Beautiful because it shows me how much I need Him, but also because it leads me to the safe place of His presence where I can lay out my unrighteousness - in all its ugliness - and embrace Christ as my righteousness. Christ, who loved me enough to sacrifice Himself to be my righteousness.
It's here that the last domino falls. My counselor.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.- Isaiah 9:6
Once I've truly realized my unrighteousness, and come to the safe place that is only found in Christ, He is faithful to counsel me through it; to show me how to fill the voids with Him alone; to take the ugliness of my heart without Him and continue to show me how to shed the old man, and walk in the new life Christ's blood bought me.
Our unrighteousness for His righteousness. Our instability for His refuge. Our confusion for His wise counsel. The ugliness of our hearts met by His grace.
What a beautiful, humbling exchange. And oh, how I want to live in the safe place of His presence every moment of my life.
"Righteousness, found only in Your face
You see my heart, You extend Your grace"