What exactly does it mean to live righteously?
First of all one should look at the exact meaning of the word righteous. According to Strong it means to be just or lawful. We are justified by Christ, therefore we are now the righteous of God. (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 3:24) We are declared righteous, not guilty, and free from sin.
Since we are now declared righteous, we also need to live righteously. Jesus said that we should be ready, like servants waiting on their master to return home. (Luke 12:35-37)
Likewise, there is also the parable of the five foolish and the five wise virgins who waited on the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins, who were not ready for his return, were not allowed to join in the wedding feast. (Mat. 25:1-13)
So, we are instructed to live righteously. (1 Tim. 6:11, 1 John 2:6, Phil. 1:10, Phil. 2:13-16, Col. 1:10)
But how do we do that?
A different way of thinking
Everything starts with the way you think. We should think about things differently and we should think about different things. (Eph. 4:23, Rom. 12:2, Phil. 4:8, Col. 3:2) What you feed your mind with is going to have a direct impact on the way you live. What are you watching? What are you reading? What are you listening to?
A holy attitude
Closely connected to your thoughts, is your attitude. All around us people are worried and stressed. We are told not to worry about anything! Instead, we should pray about it and trust God. (Luke 12:29-31, Phil. 4:6-7, Ps. 55:22, Prov. 3:5-6) Have you noticed all the angry people wanting to revenge the grudges in their hearts? We are told to let go of anger and to forgive. (Rom. 12:17, Eph. 4:26, Mat. 18:21-22, Col. 3:13)
Serve in love
Serve like Jesus did. Jesus lived love. Jesus preached love. Jesus is love. He washed dirty feet, touched sick people and ate with sinners. He had compassion for the crowd of people who would not allow him some quiet time to grieve His cousin’s death. He never turned a soul away. Righteous people are kind and humble. They have open hands and open homes. They do not turn a blind eye to suffering. (John 13:34-35, James 1:27, Prov. 3:3, Prov. 3:27, Isa. 58:7, Mark 9:35, Mat. 25:35-36, Rom. 13:8, Gal. 6:10, Eph. 4:2, Phil. 4:5, Heb. 13:16, 1 Pet. 4:9, 1 John 3:17)
Change the world
We are called to be the salt of the world. (Mat. 5:13) Salt preserves and gives flavour. You can’t do that if you keep your mouth shut and mind your own business. Make your voice heard for the sake of His kingdom. (Mat. 10:32-33) Speak for those who can’t and defend the right of those who can’t defend themselves. (Prov. 31:8-9)We are called to be light. (Mat 5:14-16) Light pushes the darkness away. Stop hiding under your bucket. The world needs to see you shine.
The joy of the Lord
The prize for sin is death. (Rom. 6:23) Jesus Christ paid that prize. But, not only did He pay that prize on our behalf, He also conquered death through His resurrection. We are free. That is why we can rejoice in the Lord! Righteous people do not find their joy in worldly pleasures. The joy of the Lord is their strength. (Phil. 4:4, 1 Thes. 5:16, Neh. 8:10)
The great commission
Each and every follower of Jesus Christ has a calling: “Go and make disciples.” (Mat. 28:19) Those living righteously, take that calling seriously. They use every opportunity to share the gospel. (Eph. 5:16, Col. 4:5-6) They use their unique gifts and talents as tools to share the gospel with. (1 Pet. 4:10) They trust in the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom and guidance. They love with the love of Christ and want to see everybody saved.
Pray without ceasing
Righteous people are prayer warriors. We know that we are not in a battle against flesh and blood, but against evil. (Eph. 6:12) That is why we fight on our knees. We can go boldly to the throne of God, in the Name of Jesus, because through Him we are righteous and the prayer of a righteous person can achieve much. (Col 4:2, Heb 4:16, Heb 10:19, 1 Thes. 5:17, Eph. 3:12, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14)
Faith to move mountains
Faith and fear can’t operate together. Faith is what you need to be saved. (Rom. 10:9-10) Faith is what you need to pray mountain-moving prayers. (Mat. 17:20) Faith is what you need to take authority over evil. Faith is what you need to live a righteous life. (Heb. 11:6, James 1:6, Mark 11:22, Mat. 21:22)
Know your sword
Our sword is the Word of God. (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12) With it we can bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5) There is living power in every word. (Heb. 11:3, John 1:1) It is the breath of God. (2 Tim 3:16) But how can you fight off evil with every powerful word of God if you do not know the words? Righteous people make time to study the Bible. They read it, memorize it and decree it until it becomes their thoughts and actions. (Josh. 1:8)
It is important to repent of our sins as often as possible. There is no such thing as cheap grace. God will not be mocked. What you sow, you will also reap. But if you confess your sins and repent, God will faithfully forgive you. (1 John 1:9, Gal. 6:7-8, Rom. 13:14, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Eph. 5:3-5, 1 Pet. 1:14-16)
Praise to the King of Kings!
God is worthy of your praise and worship. He saved your soul. He gave you life. Everything that He created is amazing. He is an awesome God! Try to wrap your mind around it. Try to understand eternity. Try to comprehend His power. Try to describe His being. You can’t. Righteous people worship God in spirit and in truth. They praise Him because they are thankful and amazed. They love Him with all of their heart, soul and strength. (Ps. 150: 1-6, Col. 3:16, Heb. 13:15, Luke 10:27, John 4:24)
So, to live righteously means to make Christ the center of your life.
I can never repay Jesus. The least I can do is to live righteously.