Righteousness - Session 11
One of the best ways, and arguably one of the most challenging ways of practicing righteousness is by developing a relational perspective to righteousness.
We are at the point in this series where we are dealing with the pragmatic side of righteousness. In the previous session Pastor Thamo expounded in great depth, the necessity to develop a disciplined culture of practicing the things that we are hearing. In this session he highlights 3 areas of our lives in which righteousness must be made practical.
A Relational Perspective to Righteousness
One of the best ways, and arguably one of the most challenging ways of practicing righteousness is by developing a relational perspective to righteousness. The scriptural basis for this is found in 1 John 3:7-12. This portion of scripture speaks of brotherly love and states that if one does not love his brother, then he is of the devil. The narrative of Cain, who was of the evil one, killing his righteous brother is contained in this portion of scripture. It highlights to us that in the absence of brotherly love it is evil, not righteousness that prevails. In the light of these verses we find that righteousness is equated with relationships. Within the communal culture of the church every person who is in Christ is your brother or your sister. And if we’ve come out of God, then every one of us that have been born from above have been born out of Christ and we have no reason not to love each other. The practical implication of this is that we must learn how, within the communion of the body, to love, to forgive, to bless, to go the extra mile, to be longsuffering and patient and kind. These are not easily accomplished because of the instinctive nature within us which defaults to the opposite of love. Hence the need to practice unconditional love for one another.
Your Body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
The second way of practicing righteousness is in the way we manage our bodies. The scriptures tell us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Simply put, the body is the dwelling place of God. The body, referred to here, is a divine design consisting of three parts; spirit, soul, and a physical structure called the flesh. Romans 6:12 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in its lusts.” The soul and the flesh are the ‘partners in crime’ in allowing sin to reign in our bodies. When sin is allowed to reign in our flesh it means that the spirit has become overwhelmed, or has succumbed to a ‘wrestling match’ that has taken place in your soul. In other words, if your spirit is not under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will submit to another leadership, and that leadership will be called an unclean spirit, or an evil spirit. The consequence of that is that sin starts to reign in our bodies. In order to live wholesomely therefore, we have to take care of your bodies, and doing so demands discipline, good eating habits, being free of addictions, of lust, etc. Practicing righteousness literally means that you have to choose the way of obedience in every aspect of your life. One cannot be selective about areas in which to be righteous whilst allowing unrighteousness to reign in other areas of our lives.
Righteousness Through Benevolence
The third aspect of practicing righteousness, as covered in this session, is through our acts of benevolence, or more specifically through a heart of benevolence. When you give to the poor, for example, you are practicing righteousness, Proverbs 19:17 says, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord”. One of the ways, therefore, of increasing the fruits of righteousness is learning how to be inclined and disposed towards people who have less than you. The principle behind this is that when you give, you are not actually giving to the poor but you are loaning to the Lord, and the Lord is no man’s debtor, meaning that He will pay you back. In order to apply the principle correctly, we must learn how not to see the person you’re giving to, but see the Lord in the person that you are giving to.