I must have heard the admonishment to "get right with God" over a hundred times growing up. It seems like only yesterday as I recall countless fundamentalist preachers thundering that particular phrase from their lofty pulpits.
I remember saying to myself: "well who doesn't want to be right right God? I know that I do... So I better read my Bible, pray, not drink, not chew, and not hang out with those who do."
"If I can do all of that, if I can meet that standard then I can be "right with God." Then I can be righteous."
Paul the apostle had the same idea. Check out Philippians 3:2-11. He shares his testimony and reveals how he had everything going for him in regards to being "right with God." He came from the right tribe, had a religious family, studied under the best Jewish scholar in the world, and kept the rules down to the smallest detail - but eventually, on the road to Damascus, God opened his eyes to show him that all of those self-righteous deeds were rubbish.
Paul writes: "For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things (good deeds / acts of self-righteousness) and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith... (Phil. 3:8-9)."
Wanna be righteous? Would you like to be "right with God"?
Well, Paul learned that the only way to become "right with God" is to quit trying to be "right with God." You and I don't have the goods. We can't meet the standard - it's too high (Matthew 5:48 provides a great example of the kind of standard God demands that we meet in order to be righteous).
Every good deed that we present to God is stained by sin; therefore we have no hope in ourselves (See here and here).
Our only hope is to put our faith in Christ and his righteousness.
He alone is the key.
We can become "right with God" through Christ alone.
Run to him.
Rest in him.
Take delight in what he has accomplished for you.
Dwell on this man who loved you enough to die for you.
Take a calming, stress-reducing bath in his intoxicating grace.
Immerse yourself in his goodness.
Then, pour yourself a beverage, and drink to the unwarranted favor that he has shown to you.
Wanna be right with God? If you are a true Christian, you already are.