"Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for He guards the lives of His faithful ones...
Light shines on the the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise His holy name." Psalm 97: 10-12
Command, truth and promise. Do this, He does this, He will do this, do this and this is your obvious response. Oddly, I know that I am considered righteous. Not in any conventional sense--I mean, I know my own black heart. I know what I do that grieves Him hurts others. What I don't do. What I do for myself. However, I also know that I have been made right--righteous. A righteousness that comes by faith. Like Abraham, who 'believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' And like Abraham who 'obeyed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' Each are true of him, each written of him. And each is true of me, as I follow in his footsteps. I'm so used to thinking in New Testament terms I forget that I am Abraham's daughter. Abraham left his home and early life to follow God, which is what each of us must do (at least metaphorically), when we begin our lives with Christ. And from that moment, we are considered the righteousness of God. FROM that very first moment of our saying yes to His call, yes to His knock, yes to Him in every way. And from that moment He guards our lives.
Yes, even with my black, but--and this is key--forgiven heart. I don't take credit for this righteousness, this 'upright heart' of mine any more than a jar can take credit for carrying diamonds in it. But I am aware of it. Aware and awed and glad. Wordless with joy for the priceless jewel that lives within me and is called Holy Spirit. I rejoice in the Lord, I who am righteous. I am compelled, by virtue of this very great thing He does, is, in me, to praise His Holy Name.
And then I read this: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
Exactly! That's all the credit to my name, that I have the cross of Jesus Christ saving me, working me over so to speak. Transforming me. Crucifying me/my flesh to complete me and make me into one like the resurrected One. Talk about a career path. A life goal. The arc of my life is this: To spend my life praising Him, asking Him to become more in me with every moment, so that I can be more for Him.