Proverbs 21:21 (ESV) states “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
In the Bible, the word “righteousness” is used to describe people who are in right standing with God. It is not a state of being or a feeling, but an act of faith. Right standing with God may sound ominous but it’s not as impossible as you think. We can do all things with Christ Jesus.
Living righteously means living in a way that honors God and obeys his commands. Are you kind? Do you love justice and mercy? Do you follow the law: God’s law, traffic laws, criminal laws? Do you engage with others in a way that respects their human dignity: not trampling their spirit but uplifting them? That may be all that is required. The Bible teaches that we should live for righteousness. There are so many verses about it just do a search. These verses will help you gain insight into how to live a righteous life, one worthy of the calling on your life.
God does not want His people to live for Him in the power of their own strength, which is why Jesus has become our righteousness. We cannot do this alone. Quite frankly, being kind, day in and day out, requires Jesus Christ. We live in a broken world that yearns for healing. At the same time, its brokenness prevents the very path to any healing that may present itself.
We as Christians are called to live for righteousness, or what is right, and not to just do what we want in life. This is especially true of me driving. Do I want to roll my window down and give that guy who just swerved into my lane with no signal, a word, yes? Is that biblical? No. The Bible often tells us that following Jesus is a narrow way and it’s difficult to walk, but it’s the best way because He’ll provide everything we need and take care of us. God has outlined for us a path we must take both on this earth and one that is eternal after death.
It also promises a reward for the pursuit of righteousness: life and honor. We want to live the life in abundance that God has in store for us. In order to do that we must try to live for righteousness. We cannot do it on our own. Living right is about living for the sake of righteousness, for the sake of God. We need God to make it happen. He is the only one from whom we can draw on his power and truly gain the grace and truth necessary to walk this path. Pray for even more grace and light so that we can trample on desires that do not serve us and honor desires that serve both the Lord and ourselves.
The Bible is often seen as a guidebook for living righteously. The Bible says that to live in this way, one must be faithful to God and His Word, give up worldly pleasures and ambitions and forgive others who have wronged them. Forgiveness is a touchy subject. But it is biblical! It is hard to comment upon the righteous life without commenting on forgiveness and how it is essential to the life we are called to live. We cannot be slaves to our grudges and be saved. We have to swallow pride and admit when we’re wrong and atone. We also must forgive others. That is one way to seek the fruit of the spirit and walk in the righteousness of God.
Living righteously is not a popular topic in our culture. Mostly, it is because of the bad reputation living righteously has. There are many Christian sects that live austerely: not drinking, not dancing, not wearing jewelry, etc. But that’s merely one interpretation of what it means to live a righteous life. Let’s talk more about what it means to live for righteousness.
In our daily lives, we are often told to live for ourselves and that we should do whatever it takes to get ahead. This is present in magazines, and in the media and saturates our dominant culture. The kingdom of God is not like that. That is the way of the wicked. If you need to trample over another to achieve something, then it’s not living for righteousness. This is not what the Bible teaches us. God wants us to live for righteousness and he wants us to serve him with everything we have, including our time and talents. And certainly not at the expense of others. Even if we think they deserve it because they trampled over us in the past. We need to strive to live in the righteousness of God until that day He bestows upon us eternal life.
The Bible tells us that God is pleased when we live righteously and serve him. It also tells us that living righteously will lead to blessings in this life as well as the next. This article will explore what it means to live for righteousness and how you can begin living a righteous life today.
What Can We Do To Live for Righteousness Today?
- Do the next right thing. This phrase is taken from the Alcoholics Anonymous program and it basically means to do whatever God put in front of you to do. Sometimes doing the next right thing is as simple as picking up your kid from school when your spouse promised they would and couldn’t and not complaining about it. Sometimes it’s turning off the light to conserve energy or using a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle. Sometimes we get a nudge from the Holy Spirit about an area of life that needs more integrity and righteousness. Doing the next right thing is listening to that nudge.
- Take care of yourself. God wants you to get through your life in a healthy manner. We should strive to be healthy. If that may be working out 30 min, 3x a week or taking regularly prescribed medicines by our doctors. We need to try to preserve the body God gave us and live for righteousness. This may be an area where austere religious sects get things right. Drunkness can adversely affect health, and so can overusing over-the-counter medicines and not taking care of the body God gave us. So in all things practice moderation, this may be one way you can start to live for righteousness. It might be the easiest. It is far easier to replace a burger with a salad than to forgive a coworker.
- Rest.The Bible is full of examples for rest. Even God himself rested after creating the world; setting for us a good example. If you are doing your fifth overtime this month, consider maybe declining. Maybe this is your righteous nudge to rest more. Living for righteousness may involve getting adequate sleep so you can be kind and not grumpy.
- Read the Bible and other spiritual literature.In the same way, you feed your body you have to feed your soul. The Bible outlines for us how to live for righteousness. There are many verses about righteousness. There are even some that contain practical steps on what not to do or what to do in your pursuit of a righteous life. Read the word. Discuss it. Digest it. Pray on it. This will help you live for righteousness. Whether it is in season or not in season. Whether you understand it or not. Sometimes just saying the words can help you later on gain a better understanding of the Lord.
- Keep an open mind. You may be called to change your mind. Sometimes righteousness does not mean what we think it means. You may be called to care for a sick loved one or take on children after their parents died. Sometimes living for righteousness is disruptive to your schedule and your timeline. It may ruin your five-year plan. That’s okay. Keep in mind that what God has in store for us is exceedingly more and abundantly more than we could ask or ever think. Your dream may be delayed but living for righteousness is never the wrong thing to do. Perhaps you have to take a detour to grow in the righteousness of god and faith. Then you can return to the task God gave you with both hands and heart full. I hope this blog entry helped you think of your own ways you can live for God’s glory and for righteousness. I hope you were encouraged today to live out your faith either more or in a different way.
- What say you about this? What are the ways of right living and thinking do you practice every day? What can you do to live for righteousness?