Self Righteousness Derailed! (again)

On family movie night as we watched our movie, I was intrigued when one of the main character’s paid homage to a bad king. The profession was born from guilt; but the sincerity of his declaration as he spoke of utter and complete devotion to this king inspired me to study the practice of doing homage.

You see, for about a year or more I have been praying that God would give me a revelation of His holiness. I thought that if I rightly comprehended His holiness, His omnipotence, then I would reverence Him as He rightly deserves. This yearning for the knowledge of The Holy sprung from the revelation that only He is righteous. Only He is just. Only He is Good. I had finally come to the understanding that, if He decided to strike me with lightening five minutes ago and kill me dead on the spot, it would be right. The reason that He is God is enough to justify anything He does or even allows. This was the key to revealing my utter and complete self righteousness. Up until that point I really thought I was good and had it in me to do good. (no snickering allowed..ok, maybe a little)

So, as I laid my self righteousness on His altar He began purifying me of it. I see now that it tried to resurrect itself (you’ll see what I mean in a minute).

I began to think of ways that I could “think” myself into reverence,

“He is a king right? What rights and privileges does a king have with their subjects? What kind of respect was due them? How much more should we respect the King of the universe and God of everything?

“What about the pharaohs of ancient Egypt? People thought of them as deity and king. How did the people treat them?”

Onward my thinker went,

“I have never had a king. I am a citizen of the United States. We don’t have a king. We have a president. If we don’t like him we just vote him out of office.”I began to feel robbed that I wasn’t born in a time or place where we had kingship.

Onward my thinker went. Spinning. Spinning.

Then I saw the movie with this poor boy paying homage to a bad king and I remembered a word study I did back when we were studying one of the epistles of the New Testament. Homage.

Here is how Noah Webster defines homage:

In feudal law, the submission, loyalty and service which a tenant promised to his lord or superior,when first admitted to the land which he held of him in fee; or rather the act of the tenant in making this submission, on being invested with the fee. The ceremony of doing homage was thus performed. The tenant, being ungirt and uncovered, kneeled and held up both his hands between those of the lord, who sat before him, and there professed that “he did become his man, from that day forth, of life and limb and earthly honor,” and then received a kiss from his lord.

Then it dawned on me! HISTORY! Surely, I could study the ancient kings of the past and gain some understanding of how to treat God as king! I began to get books from the library. I ordered them from all over the state. (are you smelling any self righteousness yet?) Starting with Charlemagne, I read as much information as time allowed. As I toured medieval history I began to realize I would have to start at a much earlier point in time, the Romans! I began entertaining what new books I would need to order. Then it happened…

The answer came.

As I held the book in my hand I sighed as I rested in what the author assured me:  My pilgrimage was unnecessary!

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Jeremiah 32:40

HA! That’s right, as usual, God has ALL the answers. Yes that word ~fear~ up in that verse is exactly what I have been praying to walk in. That was what I was trying to think my way into. But right there He says it. HE will put it there. I just have to trust Him. Isn’t that really what it means to sit under a king? By subjecting yourself to that king you are saying that you are entrusting yourself to him.

I laughed at myself as I thought of my self righteous pilgrimage. I know, it’s not the kind of self righteousness that you might peg as self righteousness. Call it what you want but it is what it is. I was seeking to make myself righteous by thinking, by reading. Praise God that He still saves. He is still patient with me. He guides me and teaches me in spite of all my “helping”. He is altogether wonderful! I am continually amazed as He ever so gently reveals everything needed, “at just the right time”.



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One Response to Self Righteousness Derailed! (again)

  1. Jacki says:

    Awesome again, TammyJo!
    I believe that we can only ever glimpse what the true holiness of God is. It is that part that we can define which He allows us to see…after all, the mere fact that we define it places a boundry around it, doesn’t it? I believe it is just that He lets us know parts of it, in order to allow us to become more like Him, but if we knew what it really looked like without that boundry, we would not be able to stand…at least not yet – not in this world. I think we will see and understand true holiness when we see Him. That’s an awesome thing to look forward to!

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