Oxymorons

22 04 2011

An oxymoron will keep you on your toes. They can make you laugh, raise your eyebrows, or even do a double take. Phrases like “jumbo shrimp,” “definite maybe,” and “paid volunteers” bring a smile to my face as we stop and catch the contradiction captured in a play on words.

An oxymoron is a self-contradictory phrase. It comes from the ancient Greek root words – oxus = sharp and moros = dull.

A lot of oxymorons are seriously funny.  But sometimes there are oxymorons that interfere with our relationship with God. Oxymorons that blur our vision and steer us away from intimacy with the Father. One of the most damaging oxymorons is the phrase “self-righteousness.”

Righteousness means “to stand in a right relationship with God.” It is a legal term which carries with it the picture of standing before God and being declared “without guilt.”

That is why self-righteousness is an oxymoron. It is impossible to be self-righteous. It is a term that we have developed to describe the attitude of someone who doesn’t recognize their absolute need to depend on the blood of Jesus. Someone who measures themselves by the wrong standard.

In order to escape the contradictory trap of self-righteousness, we have to fix our eyes on Jesus. When we buy into the idea of self-righteousness, we believe that our right standing with God depends on our actions, our works, our goodness, and our choices. We convince ourselves that it is up to us to keep our relationship with God on the right track, and we end up with a very heavy burden to bear.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:9.

My Jesus Resolution today is to anchor myself in His grace. Jesus is the only one who can make things right between me and God. It is only in living in Him, depending on His blood, and immersing myself in His love that I remain right with God. It is only at the cross that I can find forgiveness. It is only in the resurrection that I find the power to live in the righteousness He provides. When it comes to picking between self-righteousness and Jesus, Jesus is my only choice.


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