DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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The Power Of Righteousness
 

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7).

As Christians, we are to be powerful, because we are bought by the blood of Jesus and God gives us power through our relationship with him.

James 5:16-18
16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."


There is power in prayer, but our prayers are sometimes not powerful - reason - there is no power, which in turn is dependent on righteousness. We lose out on the power, for lack of righteousness.

So we need to take a decision saying "it is foolish for me to be unrighteous and lose out on this power!"

So then let us first try to understand what is righteousness. From various scriptures that talk about it we can draw a simple definition.

Definition : Righteousness : Discerning(distinguishing) what is right from wrong, using the word of God and doing what is right.

Hebrews 5:13-14
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


To be righteous we need to be able to distinguish good from evil. In most cases it is very clear what are the right things to do. Let us list down some of the things that are right :
(i) Daily prayer time
(ii) Daily Bible Study
(iii) Sharing our faith
(iv) Fellowship with other brothers and sisters
(v) All the virtues of being RIGHT : (R)ealness, (I)ntegrity, (G)odliness, (H)onesty, (T)ruthfulness

Let us also list some of the things that are not right
(i) Sinning - Lust, Lies, Pride, Theft, Deceit, Dinking, immorality, Smoking, Slander...
(ii) Laziness
(iii) Lack of compassion towards the poor and the lost.

Based on this if we examine ourselves, we would be appalled at our own unrighteousness. And we lose out on the power of righteousness.

Illustration : We had this full power when we were first baptized because of the righteousness bestowed upon us through his gracious justification.

Romans 3:21
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

The light bulbs in the room are glowing with complete power as of now. Imagine the voltage reducing slowly.. the bulbs become dim, tube lights go off and fan revolves at a snail's pace! A lot of us are like this because of not having the power.

We got to hate to lose out without this power. Do we love losing? We set our own boundaries in doing the right things. We are not hard on ourselves, we make excuses like I'm married, getting old, hectic job, I worked hard so far so I need to rest etc.

James 5:17-18
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."


We've got to remember only the "cross" as our boundary. Jesus was giving and righteous even on the cross. We got to learn to be harder on ourselves. Devil knows our weaknesses, tell us lies and makes us set boundaries to work hard. We got to go to bed thinking did I really worked hard and sleep in peace having worked our very best.......

Righteousness is a result of faith. Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Righteousness doesn't mean action alone. It springs from faith. Abram believed and practiced obedience to God's call. He was willing to trust and obey God's commands and God credited it to him as righteousness. To be righteous belief is a must. Without faith it is impossible to please God or be right with him.

Moses described it as obedience to the commandments. Deuteronomy 6:25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.

Having understood what righteousness is, let us examine it's power.

a) Pursuit of righteousness results in life - the greatest gift

Proverbs 21:21
He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Righteousness is to be pursued. Something we need to go after aggressively. Too often we only look at the prosperity in terms of material wealth and forget how God is actually giving us life! But think how many times we have been protected from so many dangers and lived so much longer. Think about accidents that we've missed so narrowly. We've got to realize God's hand powerfully working behind all this.

Not just life as in the length through righteousness God makes our lives much richer and meaningful. There is peace. No tension from consequences of lying, deceit or immorality. On the other hand we reap the joy of being righteous, being clean in our hearts, being right with God, our Father!

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Righteousness needs to be sought. And of course God knows our needs and takes care of us in the way he thinks is the best for us!

b) Righteousness delivers us from devil's trap

Proverbs 11:6
The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.

There is deliverance promised for the righteous. Unrighteous and unfaithful men are trapped by evil desires. Think about the traps of immorality, of deceit, drinking, greed.... Righteousness protects us from the traps. Even think about our working life. If we have worked righteously long enough, our superiors eventually recognize us for what we are and protect us in spite of false accusations/competition from other corners!

Righteousness is a breastplate - a powerful defense that protects our heart from evil. Ephesians 5: 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

c) Blessed are we, if we constantly do what is right

Psalms 106:3
Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.

We need to constantly do what is right. Not just talk about past glories. We got to be consistent doing what is right. There needs to be a constant focus. We can't give excuses blaming it on circumstances. No matter what the situation - in the job, at home, in the ministry, with friends, on the road whatever we do, we got to consistently be righteous.

d) Crown for righteousness : The ultimate - Heaven

2 Timothy 4:8
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Conclusion :

2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Let's flee the evil desires and pursue righteousness. These desires of youth exist not only in the young, but also in the not so young as well. Let's flee and pursue righteousness. Lets constantly do what is right and be powerful Christians. It helps the pursuit to be together with other disciples, taking help and encouraging one another.