Doing the right thing for the right reason is not as common as it used to be. Some people mock the ‘good old days’ suggesting that they weren’t. But they were. People had more of a sense of integrity, compassion, concern, etc. We might say that doing the right thing was just a part of life. Life wasn’t perfect in the good old days, but the right thing was the standard, and not so much newsworthy, as it often is today.
There’s something to doing the right thing. Life is better when people so what they are supposed to. No one receives eternal life because they do enough good things. But that does not devalue the act of doing the right thing. Being in a right place with God and doing the right thing for others carries blessings that cannot be bought. There are more than I can mention here. But let’s look at a couple of benefits to a righteous life.
In the Bible there is a book of wise sayings. In that book we find these two verses. “The righteousness of the blameless clears his path, but the wicked person will fall because of his wickedness. The righteousness of the upright rescues them, but the treacherous are trapped by their own desires.” (Proverbs 11:5-6)
A Christian is righteous because God makes them righteous, and because He causes them to live a righteous life. Being righteous is being right, or being in a right place morally and in activity. So these verses are telling us that being in the right place with God and doing the right thing with others will do something for us. In fact, there are two observations here.
Righteousness will clear your path. One of the greatest struggles in life is getting through all of the junk that is in our way. We know we should be going to a certain place emotionally, relationally, spiritually, etc. But getting there is difficult because there are so many roadblocks. It is true that sometimes other people are responsible for things that trip us up. But I think most of the time we trip over our own problems. Often times these problems are caused by us doing the wrong thing. If you want a clear path today, be in the right place with God and do the right thing toward others. It is amazing how doing the right thing will help you get to where God wants you to be, even as the wicked are falling all around you.
Righteousness doesn’t just clear your path. Righteousness rescues you. Let’s be honest… no one but Jesus Christ has a perfect track record of righteousness. Most of us have found ourselves off the path and in the ditch. When you are in the ditch, the enemy will try to discourage you by keeping your failure right in front of you. But the way you stay on the right path is the same way you get back on the right path if and when you fall off. Being in the right place with God and doing the right thing with others will rescue you from the things that would destroy the wicked.
The world does not value righteousness. It is lost in darkness. The wicked can’t see where they are going, and though they try, they can’t get out of trouble through more trouble. Another passage in Proverbs says, “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don’t know what makes them stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18-19) So the idea is that righteousness is light and wickedness is darkness. And when you are walking, you’d rather have light, right? It really is this simple.
Even the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light - for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth - discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)
Do you want to stay on the right path today? Do you want to have assurance that if you get into trouble that you can be rescued? Be in the right place with God and do the right thing toward others. Of course, if you want to crash and burn, you can always live a life of wickedness.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.