DAY #7

Isaiah 41:9-10

As a teen, my doctor discovered a curvature of the spine, prescribing yoga as a treatment. Yoga lessons strengthened my back; they also opened my mind to eastern thought. I learned the idea that I could achieve enlightenment if I made enough effort. 

All world religions teach a similar idea. In Buddhism, the eightfold path leads to Nirvana. In Islam, adherence to the five pillars means reaching Jannah. And the list goes on. World religions present an opportunity for humans to attempt to generate righteousness. This is one area where the gospel of Jesus differs. It says that God generates righteousness, which He then gives to human beings.  

The first thing Adam and Eve did after sin was to make fig leaf coverings. But those scratchy fig-leaf bathing suits didn’t work. When God came into the garden, they dove behind the bushes in fear. Where was their confidence? Their attempt to resolve shame through their own righteousness? Epic fail. 

Then God did something epic in response: He made garments of skin for them. Imagine the scene: The shivering pair stand by as God euthanizes their precious pets. Out drains the blood, as divine fingers cobble together a garment so sturdy it will ward off cold and rain. Then those gentle hands don them in the masterpiece symbol of His own righteousness. God made the garments, God clothed the humans. Every part came from God. They stood covered because of His righteousness, not their own. But in order for them to stand covered, someone they loved had to die. 

Trembling in shame? No need to fear. Righteousness comes from God, and He has your back.

Imagine yourself cowering in shame, naked and frightened. You know that your sin has brought condemnation upon you, and that your fig leaves have failed to cover it. Then imagine God clothing you with a sturdy, warm robe made of His own righteousness. Now imagine yourself straightening up and standing tall, justified rather than condemned. 

Throughout the day, as you lapse back into feelings of unworthiness, say out loud, “I stand in Jesus righteousness alone.” Say it right now with me: “I stand in Jesus righteousness alone.” 

Let’s talk to the Source of our righteousness now. Jesus, just like those animals died to cover Adam and Eve, You died to cover all Your children. Thank you for that Gift, Lord. We can scarcely comprehend it, but as we stretch our minds to try, we know that our righteousness comes from You. Amen. 

“You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

71 thoughts on “DAY #7

    1. Patrice Kielhorn

      Yes! Stress, fear let go. Love it! Thanks Jennifer. And congratulations on your chainsaw. I learned to run one as a Helitack firefighter 👨‍🚒

      Reply
    2. Belinda

      Yes! I had a stressful day teaching yesterday and everything just seemed to go wrong- then the breathing song came into my mind and I slowed my breathing, my mind calmed and I finished the day strong! My fig leaves are rationalising why my sins are not bad and convincing myself that I’m not at fault! Thank goodness for Jesus righteousness

      Reply
    3. Nowelle

      Oh yes! Usually it just plays in my head throughout day with no purpose, but tonight it was so helpful at the grocery store! I was overwhelmed with choices, my children were distracting and I started deep breathing 🙂

      Reply
  1. Katrina

    Hi Everyone!
    Yes I do! And I woke up this morning with the breathing song in my mind and I love it!
    Without going into detail, my thinking is my source of false righteousness. BUT! I know Jesus knows my thoughts and yet I’m loved and accepted by Him! And He is helping me, has been all my life, even before I knew Him.
    I am standing in the righteousness of Jesus, believing I am Redeemed, Accepted, Loved by Him and in Him!
    Peace to you all!

    Reply
  2. Lucie V.

    It’s okay. All I have comes from God trough Jesus, the door. Anything I ask God trough Jesus is accepted. All I need to do is surrender to Him completely. This is what I get. Even my regrets about some wrong choices I’ve made. Glory to our Savior Jesus who made me become righteous. Keep giving me a new heart Jesus, and allow my soul to commune with your soul, so I can resemble you more and more; Lucie

    Reply
  3. Rachel

    Hello all!
    I’ve found the breathing song popping into my head a couple times, too. I’m enjoying that!

    One fig leaf I struggle with is feeling better than people because of how I live my life. I often find myself wanting to feel superior because I don’t do things like drink, smoke, gamble, *insert other stereotypical “non-Christian” thing here*.

    I even want to feel superior when I’m trying to be humble! “Look at how humble you are, Rachel. You’re so much better than them.”

    Even while I’m thinking and feeling those things, I realize what I’m doing, and I know I’m not better than anyone else. We’re all equally fallen in sin before God, and we’re all equally and incredibly loved by Him.

    I don’t want to be tempted to feel superior anymore. I keep asking God to TRULY humble me. It’s kind of a scary thing to ask, but I don’t want a proud heart anymore, and I know He can change me.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Parsons

      Amen Rachel ! When Patricia and I are out walking, I tend to avoid people that are smoking. God took that addiction away from me in 1998. A situation arose where I was exposed to my wife’s cousins smoke. I became a Pharisee instantly and had strange behavior such as I am better than that and I don’t want to be exposed to the smoke.

      From now on, I am praying God will help me recognize that the person struggling with any addiction needs a kind response from me. I can pray that the person struggling will overcome their addiction.

      Reply
  4. Cheryl

    I use all the fig leaves to cover my shame, fears and sins.
    I use legalism, rationalism, narcissism, emotionalism and perfectionism to name a few.

    If I truly believed that I stand in Jesus’s righteousness, would I be using all the fig leaves to try to cover myself still?

    Reply
  5. Daniel Parsons

    The worst fig leaf I struggle with is self-righteousness. These meditations have actually saved my marriage because I was told by Patricia that I am married to the computer. Now we are working on spending more time together and shutting computer down.

    I stand in Jesus’ righteousness! Jesus accepts me as I am right now.
    Feels Great !

    Reply
  6. Donna

    I’m craving “grace”. I’ve craved it for decades. My pastor husband was more about the law … and didn’t know how to balance that with love; at least not in the home. I’ve been under the control and domination of a narcissistic husband … and breaking free is going to be a challenge … especially since I’ve been separated from my church. He’s wanted me to be his parrot … and I’m tired of living a phony life, like an actress … so the world thinks we have this amazing relationship. It kept me from seeking God for me … just me. I found this amazing thought in a book, and I’m claiming it for my life … “I realize now my relationship with God is mine—–not because I have to make anyone else happy.” I love that! So does my therapist.

    Reply
      1. Donna

        I have to reply to my own post. I mentioned my husband being narcissistic … well, he is; however, he’s also changing into a more loving person. Ellen White’s book, Mind, Character, and Personality, vol 2, softened those rough edges.
        I became conditioned to my “role” in the marriage; and my “role” in the ministry. I never felt the freedom to let Jesus mold me … just Jesus … not people. It’s difficult to shut out those other voices. I’m still on the “frozen” side of trauma; and I hope I can soon be on the other side, so that I can sense Him again, and get another start. It’s really scary to be stuck here for so long. Today was the first day that I have felt even the tiniest bit of hope in 4 1/2 years … my therapist had tears in his eyes at my session today. The subject matter of, “Jesus Meditations”, is so far hitting the nail on the head … this poor brain has a lot of healing to do. Timely?…yes.
        Maybe I’m becoming ready for God to put that beautiful robe of His righteousness around me. Justified rather than condemned?…not quite. Give me patience, Lord … this could be a new beginning.
        Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your gift.

        Reply
  7. Valerie

    My fig leaves probably take the form of accomplishment and fulfilling the standards I set for myself. I think I have more Martha’s perfectionism in me than I’d like to admit. I want more of Mary’s devotion, because that comes from truly realizing how Jesus gives me His righteousness, so that I just want to sit at His feet and soak it in.

    Reply
  8. Sharon

    The breathing song! I keep wanting to sing along instead of do my deep breathing!

    So many to choose from, again… All the ones already mentioned, and many others as well. One that I didn’t realize is actually a fig leave is my tendency to avoid responsibility. They told me to do it; it was their idea; therefore, it should be their responsibility. It seems counterintuitive, but by not acknowledging and accepting responsibility, I have been able to avoid having to accept the fact that I cannot generate or earn my own righteousness. Of course, it leads to a lot of problems, and consequences, which I also tend to try and avoid. Accepting the righteousness Jesus freely offers is a struggle for me, but something God has been working with me on lately.

    Reply
  9. Sarah

    Fig leaves…I’m sure I have many, but one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is doing something because it’s the “right” thing to do. The Christian culture I grew up in ingrained this in my mind. For example, we study our Bibles for an hour every day because it’s the right thing to do. And if we don’t we will probably be deceived and lost. I’ve always been very consciences, so I always try to do what’s right. But so many times in my life I have not fulfilled the time requirements, or I have just gone through the motions without really absorbing anything. Either way I end up feeling so guilty. So I sew on another fig leaf by trying to do better the next time. But God is helping me change my thinking. Sixty minutes isn’t some magic number that connects us with God. The reason for studying the Bible is to understand the heart and mind of God, not to prevent ourselves from being deceived and lost. Sometimes in just a few minutes God shows enough for us to think about for days. Each day is different, and it’s not about what I do, but about what God does. But I am praying as He teaches me, instead of feeling like I’ve finished another task I can check off my list, that God will bring each revelation of who He is into my day and life so it can shape how I live and interact with others.

    Reply
  10. Sabrina Petersen

    One of my fig leaves is my sense of control over my life and situations around me. It ties in with a perfectionist attitude: If I do everything just right, then I’ll be righteous.

    It’s the times I lose control that God reminds me that I need His righteousness.

    Saying “I stand in Jesus’ righteousness” is very freeing for me. It’s stressful and burdensome to always have to be in control!

    Reply
  11. Shirley Mann

    Somehow I’ve been kicked out twice just when I was almost ready to post my comment. I’ll try again.
    I think most of us (including me) don’t even realize that we are using fig leaves. I know I just try to do what I know is right. My biggest fig leaves may be teaching the Sabbath School class or maybe making monetary contributions to the church. I know neither of these will “save” me and I enjoy doing both, but they could be my “fig leaves”.

    Reply
  12. Jane

    Trying to do everything “right” so that life will be good. As others have said, the fig leaf of perfectionism. May the Lord remove that root and clothe me with His love!

    Reply
  13. Vanessa

    Wow, my fig leaves? Simply put, my works. As I imagined myself cowering, my works faded away as I saw my need… and I saw God kneeling down beside and covered me. He is precious. To say, “I stand in Jesus’ righteousness” is absolutely freeing and empowering.

    Reply
  14. Amy

    These meditations are full of beautiful truth. After reading the comments, I can see that one of my fig leaves is perfectionism. I feel I always have to be right and do right rather than resting in Jesus’ righteousness. Even with these meditations, I keeping wondering if I’m doing it “right”. I want to experience the freedom of standing in Jesus’ righteousness.

    Reply
  15. cree

    Oh the love of God.. that would not me go 😓 He could’ve let me go on and wear the fig leaves, but He … 🥺 thank you, Jesus! 😭

    I stand in Jesus’ righteousness alone ! 🤍

    Reply
  16. Ericka

    im feeling like part of my fig leaves was the perfection, control and legalism. but whats kinda showing its face now is my having to “know things”. ive always been obsessed with learning, an autistic trait, about anything and everything that either interests me or happens to me. and then i figure why not share that knowledge – which sometimes comes across as more advice giving than caring. i struggle with the idea that people want to just have their feelings tended to more than they want advice, information or facts. as someone with autism, this is common, but now that im aware of it, i do eventually stop myself. sometimes i still wonder why i “have to” do the “socially acceptable” thing of “wow that sucks” when i have this thing in my head that could “solve” the problem. like, im excited about that! but then, not every problem has a solution, and not every solution is going to work for every person either.

    im feeling frustrated most with people who know me most, and how they dont trust me when i share things like that. people who bragged about how smart i am, but then dont actually respond to my knowledge as if that were actually true. im still mentally digging into why thats happening, why its important to me, why im living up to someone elses 20+ year old brags about me, how that became a part of “who i am”.

    is that a fig leaf? well, im going to say it must be because thats what came “word vomiting” up into my head when i read the question.

    basically, nothing that i know makes me righteous. i could know all the things but if i dont start caring about people and what they actually need from me in whatever the moment is… what is it, a crashing symbol or something?

    im unworthy of the gift Jesus offers. but to the Father, Jesus is the only thing that makes me worthy. nothing i know can do that. nothing i share can do that. nothing i teach can do that. knowing it intellectually and actually letting it change my life in moments are two different things. its something im still thinking on i guess. when i have time to think.

    Reply
  17. Kristina

    I would say my fig leaf is trying to do right in my own strength….which is legalism. Also thinking I know better than God what should be done. I have found that full surrender is the cure for both of these but it is not so easy. Self must die daily (and through out the day)! When I am surrendered He is able to work in me and through me His righteousness.Thank you Jesus for giving me your righteousness!

    Reply
  18. Nicky Dube

    My fig leaf has been wearing a “Christian appearances” mask. I find myself hiding certain preferences like the type of shows I watch or true thoughts (that can be very mean) when I am in public. It’s as if I think it’s worse to show those parts of me to the outside world than it is that God can see it. Man…There was a time I had started breaking down this facade and God was changing me but I picked the fig leaves back up at some point. It feels unnatural to say “I stand in Jesus’ righteousness” but I want it too be natural because I know that it’s true.

    Reply
  19. Megan

    My fig leaves were perfectionism, being involved in church, and giving. Not that it’s wrong to strive for excellence, be involved, or make sacrifices, those are all good things, but the issue was that I had been using a combination of these to assuage my conscience. Almost as a substitute for drawing nearer to God. It’s as if I were trying to earn God’s favour: “See God? I’m doing good things for you! Will you bless me now?”

    When I lost the ability to do things, was too sick to attend church, and my means dwindled, I couldn’t stand on my ‘merits’ anymore (I had none). At my worst, I couldn’t read the Bible very much, because of cognitive impairment. My prayers were short and sporadic, motivated by pain and frustration rather than piety.

    It wasn’t until I was able to see my desperate need that I allowed myself to become fully covered by Jesus’ righteousness. (I had always believed in it, but now it became real.)

    Freedom is knowing I don’t have to be ‘enough’; Jesus is more than enough. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Nowelle

    It feels so freeing to say “I stand in Jesus’ righteousness”; like a huge burden is lifted off my shoulders. It’s not my burden to carry anymore, He takes it. I’m not responsible for trying to figure out how to sew fig leaves together to cover myself-I never could anyway. Thank you Lord!
    My “fig leaves” have been in the form of micro-managing. If I just perfect everything down to the most minute detail, then…what? Still nothing. Without Jesus, I am nothing.

    Reply
  21. Marlyn Pearson

    As a nurse, my stress is at work. My fig leaf was telling my other co-workers how one of my co-worker was not helpful during an emergency.He was just minding his own business. In medical emergency, we need each others help to make the situation easier to tackle, lighten the load and save the patient from crisis. In that situation, I caught myself with self righteousness but God is always good and faithful reminding me that it’s not me but Him. By the end of the day I thanked God for His wisdom in guiding me with the situation and I thanked everyone including that one staff who did not help but did his best as well to finish the task of the unit. May God forgive me for my fig leaves and to fully rely on His righteousness.

    Reply
    1. Sabrina Petersen

      I can really relate, Marlyn! I’ve dealt with similar situations at my work, and it’s made me realize how quick I am to cast blame on other people (even if it’s just in my head).

      Reply
  22. Simone

    I was the queen of”giving your body to be burned and all your goods to feed the poor” to cure my codependency. Jesus every day.

    Reply
  23. A J

    The message from this day was particularly touching. I had not thought of adam and eves covering in this way. It was an easy thing to visualize and transfer to my own needs and connection to God’s promised righteousness. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Tara

    I think my fig leaves are perfectionism, natural ability to do certain things, and my accomplishments. It can be really easy to forget where our “natural abilities” come from. Having everything under control could also be a fig leaf. I tend to have a Plan A, B, C, D, E, etc., just in case. I think God is using different circumstances to make me aware of these fig leaves so that I rely only on His righteousness.

    Reply
  25. Sasha

    My fig leaves: Doing kind things for others; perhaps being well versed in some Bible truths; eating and dressing a certain way. But, truth be told, when I truly look within, these things only look good on the outside but are actually a hiding place for a sinful heart. Thankful that I can stand boldly in the righteousness of Jesus and trade in my filthy rags for His perfect robe of righteousness.

    Reply
  26. Erin D

    I agree that the songs are popping into my head and helping me stay calmer and feel more connected to God throughout the day, My fig leaves would probably be perfectionism or sometime thinking my way of doing something is better than someone else’s. Having Christ to stand in for me is such an amazing relief. I know I can never be perfect and it’s exhausting to try. His grace and mercy are so humbling, we can then share it with others.

    Reply
  27. WayAnne

    I find myself inserting the right Christian lingo into conversations in with fellow Adventists and using this as a fig leaf of sorts. Jesus’ righteousness covers me no matter what I say.

    Reply
  28. Onieka

    I think about the times THAT I mess up in all my interpersonal relationships, and how I drop the ball at work, and at keeping promises to myself, to God and others. The thoughts of these things weigh down on me and make me want to disappear, but this reminder is timely. Righteousness comes from Jesus alone, and He will help me, if I put all trust in Him. Even when I fail, He will cover me. Also, does anyone else keep yawning during the breathing exercises?

    Reply

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