It wouldn’t be too much to say that righteousness (at least at times), is difficult work, would it? I know there are some people who would have us believe that we should just roll out of bed and into right living every day with no struggles at all. And while that might be true for them (and may their tribe increase), I don’t believe it to be the case for the bulk of us. After all, there are all of those “with all your heart” passages that make it clear that God is to be our passion rather than just our pastime. And giving everything you have, well, that’s just not always easy. It requires discipline, self-control, patience, perseverance, and other things our instant gratification world laughs at and we struggle with. So righteousness isn’t always easy. (If it were easy, wouldn’t there be a lot more of it?).
The motives for pursuing righteousness are many. Sin, the opposite of righteousness, always leads to destruction. Therefore, pursuing righteousness is the safe and smart way to live. Then too, if at least some of our peers share our beliefs and convictions, then living right will mean their approval (not something to be underestimated). But there’s another reason for righteous living that we often forget or overlook—the sheer joy that comes from knowing God and walking in His way.
Listen to the testimony of the psalmist:
Light is shed upon the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart. (Psalm 97:11)
Joy comes to “the upright in heart!” We know this from experience as well as from Scripture, don’t we? Maybe we don’t know it as much as we’d like, but we know it just the same. Living right is its own reward and that reward is joy. And there’s nothing else quite like it. May we know more and more of the joy that comes from making God our passion!
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1)