I will praise You with a heart that is right when I learn how right You judge.
I had to reread this passage a couple of times this morning, until it finally sunk in and I 'got' what God was trying to tell me! Ever have one of those moments when you know something is right in front of your face and you just cannot see it? Sometimes I praise God a little 'timidly' because I am sure he knows I haven't been all that good, or that I am walking too close to the line with something he asked me to stay away from. I am not really on the 'wrong side of the law', so to speak, but I have this feeling inside like I have been on that 'wrong side of the law' too many times and maybe there is something lingering there that hasn't been forsaken, so it hasn't been forgiven. I bet some of you are like that at times, too. You cannot get that stuff out of your mind that keeps telling you God isn't happy with you, or that he is about to unleash a bit of judgment on you because of that thing you haven't let go of yet. Let's both get this straight in our minds, so it can begin to affect our hearts - God 'judges' us based on what he sees when he looks at Jesus in us! I didn't quite get that until I looked at how God sees Jesus - as perfectly fulfilling every 'requirement' for our forgiveness.
Learn how right God judges - it will set you free when you do! It isn't that we don't 'deserve' the judgment he could mete out, it is that he chooses to remember that sin has already been forgiven at the cross - there is no further judgment necessary. We are the ones doing the 'judging', my friends. We judge our actions as 'wrong' and even 'unforgivable', but God sees our actions as 'under the blood' of Jesus. His blood shed once was sufficient for all of mankind's sin for all of time. That doesn't give us license to live any old way we'd like, but it does ensure us grace any time we get a little too close to being on the 'wrong side of the law'. We can praise God with a heart that is right because he has made it right - period! The 'rightness' we are seeking in trying to make things 'right' in our lives is really silly - because we are already 'made right' in Christ Jesus. All that effort we spend trying to figure out if we can approach God with a clear conscience just keeps us from spending time doing the one thing that actually helps to wash away all that sense of guilt, shame, and anxiety over our wrongdoings - worshiping him!
Rather than focus on what is wrong in our lives, maybe we could begin to refocus on what is right. Yep, we get things wrong from time to time. We even try to cover it up a bit like a cat trying to bury a turd in a litter box. The turd is still there - no matter how many layers of sand the cat scratches over it. Until the scoop is applied - the turd lingers. Now, I hope that isn't too graphic for any of you today, but we try to cover over a whole bunch of 'turd-like' things in our lives and then wonder why we fear approaching God in praise. We cover over the 'turd-like' stuff because we think God may not be very happy with us if he saw the 'turd' there in our lives. Truth be told - he can smell it! He doesn't even need to look for it - he clearly knows it is there. God judges right because he sees us as we are in Christ Jesus. We forget that at times, thinking he must see us as flawed and unholy. He sees us as perfect and holy - because Christ is perfect and holy and he is looking through Christ at us. Get it? If Christ be in you, and you be in Christ, then you can praise God with a heart that is right because it is right in Christ Jesus. Just sayin!