Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
If Jesus says that we are to seek righteousness for all the things needed in life, we must ask…
What is righteousness?
I remember a noted scholar defining righteousness as, “Living in a manner acceptable to God.” He went on to say, “You can’t define your righteousness because it will be filled with the errors of your life.” Then he said, “And never let others define your righteousness because your life will then be filled with their errors.”
I don’t want to live according to my own problems – too many of those. And I don’t want your problems either, so I’m not following you. Both of us too easily get stuck in rinse-and-repeat patterns of destructive behavior.
Who do we follow?
We pattern behavior from those of significant influence. Our morals are more defined by peer pressure than carefully self-taught ethics. I just purchased a pair of Cariuma summer shoes because Facebook told me they are cool.
You should too! Just get another color, as I purchased “the shadow blue” canvas.
The New Testament teaches that righteousness, or living in a manner acceptable to God, comes from following Jesus. We naturally follow those we love and there is nothing wrong with being influenced by others, but only if the ensuing actions glorify God.
Our motive for righteousness is to love God more than anything else.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2, NASB1995).
Jesus acted in a manner acceptable to God. He is the perfecter of our faith and Jesus is up to the task to lead us. Consider another verse before I exhort (or OG getting brusque)…
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
There are two errors with righteousness. First, following a set of rules. Second, thinking that we can’t become like Jesus. Righteousness isn’t ritualistic obedience. Too often we don’t believe that we can become better.
Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. He didn’t just obey the rules – HE DID WHAT HE SAW THE FATHER DOING! (John 5:19)
Our Lord sought the Father daily and then did what God was already doing. If healing, He healed; if praying, He prayed; if tithing, He gave an offering. Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing.
If Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, we should follow His example.
I find righteousness easy by realizing God doesn’t hand me a lengthy checklist during morning devotions. I continue maturing – by faith – when I think, “Hey, I’m not going to worry about stumbling. I’ll just follow the Spirit today in the grace of Jesus.”
Now, back to those summer shoes. Let’s ask the obvious theological question, “Would Jesus wear blue Cariumas?”
I think so!
In fact, I can see all the apostles following Jesus through the wilderness in the colors of “off-white” canvas, or “grey” canvas, and “sand contrast thread” canvas would be very popular in dusty Israel of that time.
But not “shadow blue” canvas, as I already have a pair.