Have you ever spent time just watching people? I deliberately do this quite often, while
asking to Holy Spirit to give me understanding of how to more effectively reach them
with the Gospel. I know if I can speak the right words, I will make a difference to affect
their eternities. This has caused me to think about the impression I bring to others in the
midst of my opportunities to share Jesus. This is especially important for those of us
who are called to the mission field. However, it applies to every person who names
Jesus as Lord. Take a moment and think about the impressions you give people every
day, and especially those who meet you for the first time. For all the preachers and
teachers reading this, consider the impressions your life leaves with them, and how it
affects their willingness to receive and apply what you preach or teach. Their perception
of your character will determine whether they accept your words as worthy of their time
and attention. If you want to make a difference in the lives of those you encounter, you
must begin with a determination to live a truly righteous, God-pleasing life of absolutely
no compromise. Then, you must maintain and where possible, increase it every day.

I am challenging you to look inside yourself and see if some of your actions and words
are nothing more than counterfeits of true righteousness. This may be a difficult
question for you to face. I am asking if what you find in any part of your heart is simply
self-manufactured righteousness, and not the real thing. Are you aware of any part of
you that habitually works to hide sinful, hurtful thoughts and attitudes? Let me leave no
doubt about what I am saying. Are the things you do and say in the name of Jesus, in
some measure, really lies? Is what is inside of you still too much of the world and not
enough of Christ… or, have you completely surrendered yourself to God and rejected
any selfishness, pride and thoughts of self-justification? I want to encourage you to
embrace the reality of being a righteous servant to Christ, every day in every way. All of
us ought to receive this with a measure of conviction. It is the Holy Spirit speaking
through my words to you out of His affection, love and concern. Open your heart and
consider what you just read.

Ephesians 4:24 (NKJV) says, “that you put on the new man which was created
according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” I have never considered this a
suggestion by God. I treat it as an authentic command from the throne of God. I remind
myself of this command daily to help me to be well pleasing to God. I admit that I do not
always succeed at this, because I am simply a fallen human being like you. I am saved
by grace alone, as are you. It is not through works that you and I enjoy being highly
favored children of God (Yes, you are highly favored, in spite of any natural
circumstances you may be going through.). Again, salvation and all its benefits, is
purely a gift of His grace. As I meditate on Ephesians 4:24, I thank God for His
command to put on the new man. I am humbled that He cared enough to speak these
words through the Apostle Paul. They encourage me to try my best to avoid any
temptation to fall into self-manufactured righteousness. To the best of my ability, I
gratefully live a surrendered life to God. You are special to God. You can do the same. I
strongly encourage you to do so.

If you are in ministry, and especially if you are a missionary or will be one soon, make
time every day to spend with God in prayer, repentance and communion. James 4:8
(NKJV) says, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” The key for you to
successfully live a righteous life is to become so close to God that pleasing Him is more
important than anything else. I love the determination the Apostle Paul displayed when
he wrote, in 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NKJV) “…we make it our aim, whether present or absent,
to be well pleasing to God.” Have you made this your aim? Why not make it the
deciding factor in your every decision, action and word. Choose prayer, repentance and
communion with Christ as the building blocks of righteousness in your life. They will
help you to surrender to the truth of God’s Word and experience the powerful presence
of His Spirit. God will gladly give you the true gift of righteousness. Just remember that it
cannot be manufactured or obtained through self-justification. It only finds its way into
your heart through your honest surrender to Christ. I highly recommend you do what is
necessary inside, so you can display the new man in true righteousness and holiness
on the outside. Then, what people will see will be more of Jesus and less of you. They
will be apprehended by His love, as will you. Now, my friend, that is a formula for
success and significance, and in addition, joy and peace.

Make a commitment today to refuse to be tempted toward manufacturing your own
righteousness and trying to justify yourself. At the same time, make a commitment to
give one hundred percent of your heart and life to Jesus. Be like Saul of Tarsus on the
road to Damascus. Just surrender to the reality of Christ in your life and say, “Lord, what
do You want me to do.” Make this your prayer every day. Then, the same power that
transformed Saul of Tarsus into the Apostle Paul will turn you into a new man or
woman. You will be qualified by God to wear robes of righteousness and garments of
praise from now throughout eternity. You will live your life as God’s champion. You will
be dangerous to the devil and a winner in all God has will call you to do.