Living Righteously

I have noticed a pattern in the Scripture I have been reading lately in which God calls his people to live blamelessly. Of course, this is not a new tenant at all. It has been around since the foundation of Christianity before the Fall, and ever since then, we have been screwing that commandment up. In fact, most people who have just barely been exposed to Christianity think this is what it is all about: being “good people,” doing “good things.”

No matter what, followers of Jesus have been called to live righteously. As I return to a setting where I am unknown by half of the student body, I have been thinking a lot about the impression my actions and words have upon others. Do they know that I am genuinely interested in listening and caring for them? Is my light shining? Do they see my joy? Do they wonder where it comes from?
Each time I have opened my Bible this week, I have been reminded that Christians are called to holiness, not necessarily by reading Scripture or worshiping (though those are important things to which we are also called), but by our actions, by the everyday choices we make in our lives. Over and over in the New Testament books I have been skimming through, I am picking up on the emphasis to live righteously by being pure, honest, and loving. Through them, the verses read, others will take notice, and we glorify God.
Here is a summary of some chapters I have looked at recently:
Be imitators of God. Live a life of love. Walk as children of light, bearing goodness, righteousness and truth. Live wisely, filled with the Spirit.
(Ephesians 5)
God wants his children to be sanctified, living a holy and honorable life. If we don’t, we disregard Him. Love each other more and more. Live a humble life, so you can win the respect of outsiders.
(1 Thessalonians 4)
Train yourself to be godly. Set an example for believers…Be diligent in doing this, so that everyone may see your progress. You will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4)
You are not your own; you were bought for a price. Glorify God in your body by living purely.
(1 Corinthians 6)
Be holy in all you do, because God is holy, and he redeemed you with Christ. Obey the truth, and love each other deeply. Abstain from sinful desires, living such good lives that others see your good deeds and glorify God. By doing good you silence foolish men…Live for the will of God, and love each other deeply.
(1 Peter 2, 4)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
(Proverbs 21:21)
“Set an example for others in speech, life, love, faith, and purity.”
(1 Timothy 4)

 

Fortunately, being virtuous is not the whole story. These verses attest to two other results. First, rather than doing works just to stay on God’s good side, grace flips our actions into an eager response of gratitude because of the the lavish gift we have received through Christ’s blood. It is not just about being good. It is about honoring God because we are a precious commodity for which he paid the ultimate price. In response to that miracle, we get to shine. We are given the chance to strive to be more like God, emanating his light, his radiance. The second outcome: when we do live in a way that is pleasing to God, other people take notice. Through our righteous actions, we testify to a different life. People who are not Christians will see us and not only recognize the difference in the way we choose to live or find us faultless; they will yearn for what we have.
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