Overflowing Hope

I’m going to start this blog post very honestly: the first thing I did when starting to write was google “righteousness” because I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I’ve grown up in church so I’ve heard it a lot, but when I sat down to think about what it means to live righteously the only thing that came to my mind was, “...what the heck even is righteousness?”

So, to be entirely cheesy, the definition of righteousness, fresh from Google is: the quality of being morally right or justifiable.

And then because I’m a little slow on the uptake, I read through the synonyms: goodness, virtue, worthiness, honor, nobility.

So when we hear JEHOVAH TSIDKENU, the Lord is our Righteousness, that means God is our morality. God determines what is right, but he also fulfills that rightness within our lives. Righteousness isn’t a call to perfection, but a reminder of the mercy God bestows on us to meet us where we lack. But just because we can’t fulfill the entirety of the law, and just because we are human and prone to sin, doesn’t mean we aren’t called to live righteously. In fact, we are  specifically called to live in righteousness. 2 Timothy 2:22 says “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness.” And in 1 John 5:18, when John says, “we know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning,” it is a call to live a righteous life.

Knowing what righteousness is is the first step towards practically living a righteous life. The next step is to know what a righteous life looks like. And for that we look to the only one who has ever lived a truly righteous life-- Jesus. In order to see his example and know how the righteous are called to live, the Bible is the ultimate authority. It may feel a step removed, but the Bible is the most direct source for guidance on how to live righteously. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” So the most practical thing you can do to live a righteous life is read the Bible, and to hide God’s word in your heart, and learn from the example of Jesus’s life. In Matthew 4:11, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he used scripture to refute the lies of the enemy. The power of the scripture was enough for Jesus to sustain himself against the enemy, and that power has not changed.

The next biggest practical in living a righteous life is to maintain a posture of service to God. Living a righteous life can easily become striving for goodness and a love of the law. The Pharisees who persecuted Jesus in the New Testament knew the law and followed it well. But their hearts were postured to serve the law and strive towards righteousness for their own glory. We should want to live a life of righteousness out of an overflow of love for God and an overflow of thankfulness for his mercy.
 
Finally, the most important thing you can do to live righteously is depend on God. If Jesus himself was tempted, we can be sure that there will be times when we will stumble. On our own power, that can seem daunting, but as 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. If we continually surrender ourselves to him, humbly admitting our weakness, God’s power in us will always give us the strength we need to continue living righteously and to fight against temptation.

If you need a place to start, start in silence. Sit and meditate on your daily life and ask, “Am I living a life worthy of the sacrifice God made on the cross?” If the answer is no (and it probably will be), cry out to God in that weakness. Confess the areas of your life that are not righteous, and ask for his love to grow within you so that can live a life worthy. He will never leave you in hopelessness, so you can go forth in the confidence that God’s power is your weapon against the enemy.

Author | Sarah Savoie

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