Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. (Ps. 118:19)

“The devil made me do it,” is what the sign read. Two cherubic devils posed cutely on either side of the phrase. It was the sort of sign you might expect to see in the house of a particularly wry grandmother. My husband pointed out the hanging ornament to me a few weeks ago in a flea market in town and joked that we should hang it in the room of our two young and precocious sons.

That phrase is humorous because it’s insightful—not in its accuracy, but in how it captures so well our willingness to cast off our own guilt onto whomever we can find. Even in the garden of Eden, original sin was quickly followed by the original blame game. It’s easy to fear free will when it entails culpability, and yet God also grants us the tools to do good.

The church is one of God’s templates for righteousness; it reflects the perfect communion of the Trinity and gives us the context to give and receive such wonderful love. The challenge is that we also possess the tools to destroy that structure—selfishness and derision. But if we model our lives after Christ’s, join a body of believers, and work toward the selfless love that characterizes holy community, God will help make our imperfect efforts perfect.

Use the tools of righteousness God gives to live in holy community.

Lindsey Priest is an Indiana Wesleyan University graduate and lives in Arkansas with her husband and two sons. She likes to read to the kids, play video games with her husband, and refurbish furniture.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.