We make space for God’s Spirit to fill us. A new identity – a new purpose – wells up within.

This new way of being comes not from our hearts alone; it comes from Jesus Christ and his righteousness.

Breathe in these words and know that you are loved: “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me.” (from The Prayer of St. Patrick)

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If anyone else has reason to put their confidence in physical advantages, I have even more:

I was circumcised on the eighth day. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews. With respect to observing the Law, I’m a Pharisee. With respect to devotion to the faith, I harassed the church. With respect to righteousness under the Law, I’m blameless.

These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ.

Philippians 3:4b-7

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I grew up as a seemingly perfect little “church kid.” I earned perfect Sunday School attendance, sang in the choir, and was an active leader during my youth group days. I look back on those experiences and I am grateful for them. However, those experiences (as formational as they were) do not amount to a hill of beans when I am trying to talk a friend through a rough time or care for somebody who is dying or preach about justice to my congregation.

Instead of my “churchy” experiences, what truly matters is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In these verses from Philippians, the Apostle Paul is listing all of the “churchy” accolades he has received: he comes from the “right” kind of family, he followed all of the religious laws, and he was squeaky-clean. But none of that mattered when stacked up beside the goodness, grace, and righteousness of Jesus.

Today, remember that grace is not about trying to achieve perfection. Rather, grace is about the awareness that we will never be perfect, but Christ’s righteousness walks beside us nonetheless.

Tyler Tankersley

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Jesus, help me to remember that you do not ask us to be perfect. Instead, you ask us to rely on your grace even in the midst of our brokenness. Help me to extend that grace both to myself and to those around me. Amen.

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As you depart from this moment, may you know that the righteousness of Jesus Christ walks with you wherever you go.

Tyler Tankersley is blessed to serve as the Senior Pastor of Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is married to Jessica who is an early childhood educator. Together they have the joy of being the parents of Henry (8), Owen (6), and Charlotte (3).

Upon the Eternal

Jon Chacko

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