Me, Myself, & I: Week 4 - Monday Morning Devotions

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In this season of resolutions and self-help, where we focus so heavily on ourselves, let’s delve into idolatry - putting something (or someone) else in the place of God.

These seven weeks are brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who serves the Native community of Winnebago, Nebraska.

Read week 1 here

Greetings to you in the Name of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

 I begin today with this quote from Lockwood: “What a burden to have to justify myself with my own paltry righteousness!…

“It is not just religious people who attempt to justify themselves before God and his Law. So do secular people. . . Luther concludes from Romans [chapters] 1 and 2, there are no true atheists in the world, since God has imprinted a natural knowledge of himself and his Law on the human heart. (98) …

“Try as we might to justify ourselves, the idols we establish for this purpose all fail to make us righteous or win for us God's approval. Since no idol can atone for sin, or take our guilt and shame away, they leave us under God's wrath. (110) . . . This inability to eradicate guilt means that idols cannot give us a peaceful conscience. . . . Those who justify themselves feel proud and secure when things go well. They are arrogant toward God and look down on other people. (111) …

“Self-justification always leads to a hypocritical pretense of righteousness rather than real living. (111) … Far from producing genuine love for God, self-justification breaks down all thankfulness toward him by breeding a sense of entitlement. (112) …

“All that the idol of self-righteousness can ultimately do for its devotees is make them weary and anxious. The self-confidence of those who try to justify themselves must be destroyed or they will never be saved.” (110)

The Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Rome: "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Romans 3:22 (NIV)

I end where I began: “What a burden to have to justify myself with my own paltry righteousness!” But how liberating to be justified by the righteousness of Christ.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words from the third chapter of Romans: "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:22–24 (NIV)