I used to be a big fan of the TV show, “Survivor.” It fascinated me to watch the intricacies of the relationships formed, the compromises people were willing to make on their values and character in order to achieve their goals, and the temporary alliances manipulatively formed to gain the trust of others in order to ultimately win the million dollar payout and become the ‘Sole Survivor’.
There was so much striving involved—physically, mentally, and often even emotionally. It truly was an exercise of extreme exertion—leaving the winner spent and depleted—for the gain of a title and a bit of a financial respite.
Striving is in our nature—it’s part of being human. Scripture warns against striving for temporal happiness and things of a vain nature, yet also encourages believers to strive in prayer, for peace and rest, and toward faith. When I consider what it means to ‘become the righteousness of Christ’, my inclination is to strive in areas of my life that can be relegated to a checklist: read my Bible every day, pray regularly, work on being patient and kind, give generously, etc. All good things, no one would argue, but none of which will ultimately achieve the goal of becoming the righteousness of Christ.
For that, only one thing is required—to be ‘in Him’. He has already done the striving for me—and for you. He has accomplished all that we cannot. He has borne the extreme exertion. He has spent and depleted Himself—entirely for our gain.
On “Survivor,” often after a weekly challenge, the winner is asked to select another player to share in their reward—typically some sort of comfort along with a great feast. All of the losing players stand in line, waiting anxiously to learn whether they will be chosen to join the winner. You can see the desperation and hopeful pleas emanating from their eyes. They are broken, exhausted, famished, and in desperate need of reprieve—but not one of them ‘deserves’ to be selected. Yet, one will always get to enjoy that which they did not earn—solely based upon the mercy and discretion of the one who has accomplished what they could not.
You do not need to strive in order to become the righteousness of Christ. You simply must be willing to wholeheartedly acknowledge that He has already accomplished all that you cannot—embracing your brokenness, exhaustion, poverty, and desperate need for reprieve. He is the Giver of Grace, and by taking His name when He calls you to Himself, He makes way for you to become the righteousness of Christ—inviting you to share in His eternal reward.