|artwork by Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal|
Liz Lassa, creator of Spiritual Circle Journal, described the meaning behind this beautiful work of art…Did you know this was the original cover to the Spiritual Circle Journal? The one I created and shared with 27 ladies in a friend's home right before I realized God was up to something bigger than I had imagined. It hangs in my quiet time spot/creative space. There is so much significance in the art. We are to be like the tree, staying rooted by the flowing river of Living Water. The rough edges around the picture of the tree represent our rough edges that the Lord wants to smooth off like the pebbles below. The three glass circles in the sky represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The sparkles in the river represent the nuggets that God wants to teach us when we get still and spend time with Him. The whole point of the Spiritual Circle Journal is to help people love their time with God and crave it more often. To grow closer to God, to know Him, to love Him, and to do His will.
I was inspired to dig a little deeper for some of those “nuggets that God wants to teach us” through a word study of the word, righteousness, from Romans 8:10-11…
Amplified Bible: But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.
NLT: And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Phillips: Now if Christ does live within you His presence means that your sinful nature is dead, but your spirit becomes alive because of the righteousness he brings with him. I said that our nature is “dead” in the presence of Christ, and so it is, because of its sin. Nevertheless once the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives within you he will, by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.
Wuest: But, assuming that Christ is in you, on the one hand the body is dead on account of sin, but on the other hand the [human] spirit is alive on account of righteousness and assuming that the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus out from among the dead is in residence in you, He who raised from among the dead Christ Jesus, will also make alive your mortal bodies through the agency of the Spirit who is resident in you.
Young's Literal: and if Christ [is] in you, the body, indeed, [is] dead because of sin, and the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness, and if the Spirit of Him who did raise up Jesus out of the dead doth dwell in you, He who did raise up the Christ out of the dead shall quicken also your dying bodies, through His Spirit dwelling in you.
Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosune (from dikaios) which means being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified (being or in accordance with what God requires); it is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense, dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm.
Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as, all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ.
Righteousness comes from a root word that means straightness. It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard. Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness and this is exactly what Paul is referring to in the context of the present verse. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should be. The righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as that which is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, and all that He provides (through Christ).
Dikaiosune here refers to the divine action by which God puts a person right with Himself (in the act of justification which here equates with imputed righteousness). The original use of this word group (dikaiosune, dikaios) was in the law courts where a judge declared an accused person "not guilty" and henceforth "right" before the law (righteousness was thus the opposite of a declaration of "guilty" with subsequent condemnation).
Pastor Ray Pritchard describes dikaiosune in this application: “If you want righteousness, you can have it. Let me go out on a limb and make a bold statement. Whatever you want in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough. I don’t think we appreciate the importance of that truth. Most of us are about as close to God now as we want to be. We have about as much joy as we want, about as much peace as we want. For the most part, you are where you are right now because that’s where you want to be. If you were hungry for something better from God, you could have it.
If you want it, you can have a better marriage.
If you want to, you can do God’s will.
If you want to, you can grow spiritually.
If you want to, you can become a man of God or a woman of God.
If you want to, you can change deeply-ingrained habits.
If you want to, you can break destructive patterns of behavior....
If you are hungry, come and eat of the Bread of Life.
If you are thirsty, come and drink of the Water of Life.
If you are weary, heavy laden, come and find rest.
If you are guilty, come and be forgiven.
If you are far from God, come back home again.
The French philosopher Pascal said that there is a “God-shaped vacuum” inside every human heart. Since nature abhors a vacuum, if we don’t fill it with God, we will fill it with something else. So many of us have filled our hearts with the junk food of the world, it is no wonder we are so unhappy.
Augustine explained both the problem and the solution: “O God, You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.” You will never be happy until you put God first in your life. And you can never do that until you surrender your life to Jesus Christ once and for all.
In the kingdom of God, everything begins with a seeking heart! Salvation begins with a hungry heart. If you are tired of the life you’ve been living, you can make a new start. Whatever you want in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? If you are, you can be filled. This is the promise of God to hungry hearts and thirsty souls.”
Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:10-11 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Romans 8:10-11 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."
Look Out—as you meditate on Romans 8:10-11 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ