Do you love righteousness like Jesus loves righteousness?
Jesus described it as a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6.
This is what Jesus lived and taught. He loved righteousness and hated iniquity and as a result, was anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions. Jesus had a driving need to be completely righteous. He cried out with strong cries and tears to Him who could save Him from death and was heard because of His godly fear. He was perfected in this way. (Hebrews 1:8-9; Hebrews 5:7-9.)
We can also look at Paul. He had some pretty hefty credentials. He was a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee trained by Gamaliel, and concerning the righteousness according to the law, he was blameless. However, once the glory of the Lord Jesus was revealed to him, he counted all that as rubbish, that he might gain Christ. Instead, he sought the righteousness that comes through the obedience of faith. In other words, he wanted to come to the fullness of Christ’s virtues, the fullness of God. (Acts 22:3; Philippians 3:5-10; Ephesians 3:17-18.)
A hunger and thirst for righteousness
Now we who also hunger and thirst for righteousness are to be trained in it in our daily lives. As human beings we are not naturally righteous. We are unrighteous, self-righteous, right in our own mind and ways, high-minded and self-seeking. God has to teach us, by the Holy Spirit, the way to His righteousness, which is written in His word. If we are obedient and can humble ourselves in the chastening, we will come to the peaceable fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:7-11.)
A few examples of how we can learn righteousness in our regular, day-to-day lives:
It is righteous to pay what we owe. (Romans 13:7-8.)
It is righteous not to look at a woman to lust after her. (Matthew 5:27-28.)
It is righteous to judge ourselves and not the others. Then we will have wisdom to help others. (Matthew 7:1-5.)
It is righteous not to compare or measure ourselves against the others. (2 Corinthians 12:12.)
It is righteous to compare ourselves against the word of God and Christ’s virtues. This will keep us in need of a deeper salvation.
It is righteous to do things without partiality or favoritism. (James 2:1-9.)
It is righteous to treat people with mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness and goodness.
It is righteous to hate the love of money and greed, but be generous instead. (1 Timothy 6:10-11.)
It is righteous not to murmur or complain about our state, but to be thankful and content, because it is God who has done it. (Philippians 2:12-14; Philippians 4:11-13.)
It is righteous to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice, for we are members on the same body. (Romans 12:15.)
It is righteous not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. (Romans 12:3.) We won’t become busybodies in other people’s matters that way.
A development in righteousness
It is necessary to be in need over our own lacks. That is what drives us to hunger and thirst for righteousness. The promise is that we will be filled with righteousness! It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12.) It is a development, a process that we enter into by faith.
Jesus had many things that He wanted to tell His disciples, but He knew they couldn’t bear it. (John 16:12.) Neither did they have the power to overcome yet. That would be done through the Holy Spirit whom He would send them. In the same way, God will not reveal to us more about our unrighteousness than we can bear at a time. (1 Corinthians 10:13.) And when He does show us, we will receive power to overcome if we love and obey the truth. This process goes forward according to our hunger and thirst. We need the attitude of mind that Paul had: “… but one thing I do … I press toward the goal …” Philippians 3:13-14. In this way we will make continual progress into the fullness of Christ’s virtues. What else really matters?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33-34.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.