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« Mother's Prayers | Main | Hearing vs. Listening »

Are You Doing the Righteous Thing?

“Righteousness” comes from a root word that means “straightness.” It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard. Righteousness is a moral concept. (Greek:  dikia). Synonyms include justice, holiness and propriety.  God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness.  Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25. Righteousness refers to Holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard. Therefore, man’s righteousness is defined in terms of God’s holiness.

But life challenges our righteousness daily.  Righteousness involves choices.  That means that there are two or more options that present themselves to us.  Each choice has pros and cons that must be weighed out.  It is not just a choice between right and wrong.  In theory, everyone believes in doing the right thing.  We have developed great sophistication in solving our ethical dilemmas. When do we administer heroic methods or pull the plug?  When do we support or condemn family and friends behavior?  When do we say enough is enough in marriage relationships? When do we get involved or keep our distance from situations? These are hard questions. But the real heat comes when we factor in the impact upon our own lives.  1) The choice between profit and loss.  2) The choice between acceptance and rejection. 3) The choice between moral and immoral. 4) The choice between saving face and coming clean. 5) The choice between pleasure and pain. Four steps are necessary to make things right. 

  • Reason. “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, “’Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow.’” Isaiah 1:18);
  • Repentance: “’’Thus says the Lord GOD: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.” Ezekiel 14:6;
  • Responsibility: “Then they said to one another, ‘We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us.’” Genesis 42:21;
  • Restitution: “Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’” Luke 19:8.

Before salvation, we would do the selfish, convenient thing without thinking.  Use the curse word, hate the person, steal the money, spread the gossip, fudge the taxes and time clock, tell the lie, indulge in the lust, nurse the grudge, and on and on.  Now, however, we have the mandate for righteousness upon us.  How many times have you said, “It’s lucky for you that I have the Holy Ghost!?

An analogy may be seen in the miracle of the lame man’s healing.  Jesus told him to take up his bed because he knew that the new state of being healed would be intimidating to him.  The man stood for the first time in 38 years.

  1. There was the balance problem.
  2. There was the view of life from six feet instead of one foot.  (People in wheelchairs say there is a difference how they are received by others from their sitting position.)
  3. There was the new perspective of being seen as a whole person, capable of fending for yourself, responsible for taking on life’s challenges.
  4. There was the ease with which he could have laid back down and assumed the position of his former self.  His healing would have been negated.  His leg would have atrophied.  His newly given advantage would have been forfeited.

Righteousness, therefore, as a standing with God must be accepted. Righteousness as a lifestyle is to be learned.  Are you acting according to righteousness or according to sinful human instinct?  Righteousness is living the informed life, the life fully acclimated to the morality of God.

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