Righteousness determines how God treats you. There are two kinds of righteousness, the kind that Jesus gives and the kind that religion thinks it can earn or be disqualified for through keeping and breaking laws or commandments.
Religion can become addictive. Religion for the purposes of this article is man’s attempts to be accepted by God based on deeds or rules. It feels good to do the right thing and it feels bad, for normal people, to do the wrong thing. But to think God is changing how he relates to us based on our behavior is a toxic view of God and it invalidates the right-standing with God that Jesus died for. To believe that God withholds blessing, wisdom or love based on behavior is a toxic doctrine of religion that ends up driving people away from God.
Addiction is wrapped up in a false sense of fulfillment of peace based on a substance that’s toxic for you. With addiction, a dependency is developed that might be chemical, emotional, physical or psychological. Being addicted to religion is more psychological and emotional because it’s all about toxic beliefs rather than using a substance.
You would never say self-righteous things like, “I was really good today, now God owes me a blessing.” Or, “I didn’t sin this week so now I’m more righteous.” You would never say those things because you know your righteousness isn’t a result of your behavior, it’s a gift from God through faith in the finished work of Christ.
But you might say, “I wonder what God is doing” when you have a flat tire, lose your job, have marriage problems or contract a disease. That’s still self-righteousness.
How is that self-righteousness? Because thinking God’s blessings are based on good behavior is the same as thinking God’s curses are based on bad behavior, either way it bases your standing with Him and His subsequent treatment of you on your behavior. To be clear, your standing with God (righteousness) isn’t based on performance, it’s based on God’s love for you and his willingness to be a good Father to you.
Thinking that God is allowing bad things due to your behavior is a self-righteous, toxic belief that can become addicting. The brain gets used to trying to understand God through circumstances and automatically asks “why” every time something goes wrong. That’s a mindset that the believer must detox from. You can eliminate that toxic belief by being confident that your right-standing with God is rooted in Jesus’ obedience, no matter what!
~ Clint Byars
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