|artwork by Krista Hamrick|
David calls upon God to deliver him in his righteousness. It was this kind of use of righteousness that captured Martin Luther's attention and led to his great breakthrough realization of the doctrine of salvation by grace. In his human thinking, Luther could not connect God's righteous expectations, over which he felt condemnation, with God's salvation. Living up to God's standard is not possible in ourselves. Finally, the truth came alive in Luther that God's righteousness not only means judgment on sin, but his gracious gift of the solution to the sin problem to all who repent of their sin and receive the gospel by faith. What human ability cannot do, God provides to those who turn to Him and acknowledge their need—both right standing and enablement to live in it. Isaiah pictured righteousness as God adorning us with a rich robe in his love for us (Isa. 61:10). The most familiar verse concerning righteousness, and the one quoted by Paul in Galatians 3:6, is Genesis 15:6, "[Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him as righteousness." By faith, Abraham had a right relationship with God; he fulfilled the Lord's expectations of his life. Christ came to set the captives free so “they may be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
I discovered a wonderful acrostic memory tool for the word, “praise,” which I have applied as a prayer format during my quiet time each morning and as I prayer-walk:
REPENTANCE: After I have spent several minutes in praise and worship, I enter a time of confession and repentance. I confess sins of the thought life such as wrong motives, negativism, a critical spirit, or even right words with a wrong heart. As I repent, I thank Him for His faithfulness to forgive my sins.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Having praised Him and been purified by Him, I am ready to submit to God’s authority. I acknowledge His right to rule and reign in my life every day. Then willingly and deliberately I submit myself to His Lordship—one day at a time. I deliberately surrender to His Lordship with my heart. I acknowledge Him as Lord and thank Him for being so trustworthy with His authority.
INTERCESSION: I ask God to burden my heart with specific people He wants me to intercede for each day. As I intercede for others, I thank Him for being my Great High Priest and adding power to my petitions.
SUPPLICATION: I enter into a time of prayer for myself. God has called each of us to love Him, serve Him, and live holy lives. I can only know Him intimately when I bring Him my innermost thoughts, fears, hurts, gains, losses, and desires. I ask Him to give me a heart to love Him more and to fill any empty places in my heart with the safety of His love. In supplication for myself, I thank Him for knowing me intimately and desiring that I know Him.
EQUIPPING: I conclude my prayer time by asking Him to equip me in every way for a victorious day. I ask Him to give me eyes that “see” Him and ears sensitized to “hear” Him. I ask Him to give me a heart to respond when He opens a door of opportunity, and to empower me to witness as He leads. As I ask for equipping, I thank Him for never calling on me to do anything He will not readily equip me to accomplish.
Look Up—meditate on … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.