His Righteousness for My Wretchedness

He lived the perfect life.We have the model. We have the example.

When I have thought about the Jesus' time on Earth, I've typically focused on the cross. The ultimate sacrifice. Taking my sin, my shame, upon Himself. Wearing a crown of thorns that pierced the skin of His face, suffering the taunting and abuse of the guards.

Every time that I watch The Passion, I am undone.

But the Cross was only part of the story.

Yes. Christ died for us, and for all . . . But first, he lived.

My husband (my pastor), in his debut teaching adults on Sunday helped me to remember that without His perfect life, the death on the cross would not have finished the work.

He came down from Heaven, suffered in humanity to live the perfect example for us, so that His righteousness could take the place of our wretchedness.

I am overwhelmed. That statement has been ringing in my mind and heart all day since it poured out of my fingers this morning in an early morning prayer chat on gmail with my dear friend. Righteousness for wretchedness. Wretchedness for righteousness. . .

How easily we slip into this world that we are meant to be in, but not of.

Ingratitude Impatience Bitterness Selfishness Pride

How easily we take back the wretchedness. . . instead of leaving it on the cross where the work was finished. Right now my heart is pounding, because He is teaching me through the words and ideas that are filling my mind. Snapshots of the me that I don\'t want to be.

In Romans 7:19, Paul cried out:

For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

This is the struggle. We know the right thing. We strive to do the right thing. But in the moment, before we can even think about what we are doing - - we have chosen the very thing that breaks our hearts, sending us back to the foot of the cross.

In the previous verse, we learn why it is such a battle: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

There is nothing in ourselves that can help us overcome ourselves.

When Jesus took the penalty for our sins, once for all, He took the blame. His perfect life took the shame.

In those moments- those ugly moments, those decision moments, we remember His perfect life, and we call on the presence of the Holy Spirit, who longs to work in us, helping us to become more and more like Him.

Lord, You took my shame. You took my wretchedness. And you have given me the covering of Your righteousness.

I am lost for words. Your love is astounding.

Amen.

Meredith and her husband live in beautiful Maine, with two spunky boys. They are planting a church in the same town where Meredith is the band director for grades 5 - 12. They are sitting on the edge of their seats, watching God in action, and loving every minute of it! She blogs regularly at http://journey2authenticity.blogspot.com.