There is this story in Mark 10 (v 17 – v 22):
Now as He (Jesus) was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
The man was seeking for an action plan to follow, presupposing that he could make it to Heaven through his own effort.
And when Jesus quoted him the 10 Commandments, which is essentially a list of things to do (or rather not to do), he arrogantly, or perhaps naively, claimed to have kept all of them since he was young.
Of course, we know that is not possible, at least not possible by our own strength.
Instead of rebuking him, the Lord simply pointed out the “one thing” that he (still) lacked, and the man who had, just moments ago, presumed he could measure up to God’s standard “went away sorrowful”, realizing that he had never even came close to the mark.
As Jesus had pointed out, nobody can call himself good. For all our impeccable conduct, for all our charitable deeds, for all our selfless acts, they are just “like filthy rags“(Isaiah 64:6) in the eyes of the Lord.
We tend to forget that true righteousness can only come from Him…
No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.