Once upon a time I had 20/20 vision. Then in my later 30's I began needing glasses to read. It wasn't a big deal. I got some inexpensive glasses and put them on to read. Over time I needed to get stronger reading glasses but my vision for distance was fine. Or so I thought. Around the time I turned 50 I got an eye exam that showed trouble seeing things both near and far, and so it was time for bifocals.
Wearing bifocals was an eye-opening experience. It took some time for me to figure out how to read with them without driving myself crazy. But the changes I noticed with distance vision were more dramatic. It turned out that things in the distance were much clearer and crisper through my bifocals than I had thought. My impression had been that my distance vision was fine but wearing bifocals proved that wasn't the case at all.
Living life as a Christian can be a bit like my experience with my vision before I had bifocals. I thought I was seeing things clearly, but I really wasn't. We can live each day and think that we are doing things in ways that are pleasing to God, and then we find out that there is a big blind spot in our life. We come to find out that we drifted off course, and that we're continuing to drift farther away each day.
This all came to mind recently when I was reading Psalm 7 and got to verse 8, which says:
"The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me."
The Psalmist is in the midst of a conflict with someone else and asking God to be his judge, basically in comparison to this other person. But that isn't the way that God acts as judge. God's standard isn't how we compare to other people but how we measure up to the guidelines He has given for us. And by those standards everyone of us falls woefully short. Our own righteousness, or own sense of integrity, will carry no weight with God.
When we read our Bibles and seek for God to be our teacher we find that God's word works like my bifocals, showing us things the way that they really are, and not as we seem to think that they are. And that means that by faith in Jesus as my Savior I can read the words of the Psalmist and know how far I am from God's standards, and yet…
…and yet know that I can come before God confidently as my judge, because the righteousness that I do have is a gift from Jesus. On the cross He took all of the things I have ever done that were offensive to God, replacing them with His perfect standing before God.
He did this for you, He did this for me, and He did this for everyone who calls on Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.