Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Pursue Righteousness and Unfailing Love

During the course of our lives, we set goals for ourselves to pursue. We want to do our best and be our best as we meet the challenges of trying to achieve whatever goal it is. Boys and girls alike may want to excel in sports or academics. When I was growing up, excelling in debate was my ultimate goal. No matter what the goal, we dedicate ourselves to doing our best to achieve whatever goal we set for ourselves.

As time goes on, we change our goals and pursue other things. Most of the time, it is pursuing something material like a new house or a brand new car. In some cases, it is to have both. We push ourselves harder and harder to achieve our goals and forget about those things that truly make a difference in our lives.

In chapter twenty-one of the Book of Proverbs, the author writes, “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.

If we choose to pursue righteousness and unfailing love, we will be blessed by God and we need not worry about the other things in life. God will bless us in accordance with His will and plan for our lives. When we seek those things that are higher and nobler, God will bless our lives with abundance. But, we need to remember, blessings come in different forms and may not be material.

God provides for our needs daily. He is our daily bread and we are sustained by His strength. When we begin to change those parameters and turn God into some sort of spiritual vending machine, we begin to see Him in a different light. We no longer serve Him; He serves us. We dictate to God what He is to provide. There are pastors who will go out of their way to feather their own nests and tell you that God will give you more wealth if you just give to them. They will tell you that your donations will prove to God how dedicated you are to Him. It does not work that way and it will only lead to disappointment. 

The key to all of this is righteousness and love. By doing all those things that are good in the eyes of the Lord, you will be blessed. By showing love to all including your enemies, you are showing God’s love to the world. As the scriptures tell us, God is love. When we show kindness and compassion to others, we live a life of love that is guided by righteousness. Pursuing those two things in life and dedication to achieving them will bring blessings.

Life itself is a blessing. I am not talking about just life here. I am also talking about eternal life. Living a life filled with meaning and purpose brings great joy to each of us. When we pursue righteousness and love by serving God, we find that we are happier. Every study that I have ever read that looks at people who are Christians versus those who are not show that Christians tend to lead happier lives and see a life of service rather than burden.

In chapter eleven of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

By living a life that pursues righteousness and love, we are happier and we truly feel fulfilled. We actually find rest with the Lord. His yoke truly is easy to bear and He gives a light burden. Our days are filled with humble service to God and with opportunities to share the Good News of salvation and grace. Those two things give us the meaning and purpose we are looking for in our lives. 

As we do those things, God will shower us with blessings of prosperity, but that prosperity may take different forms. We may receive material wealth that is not to be spent in frivolous ways like buying fancy clothes, cars, bigger homes, yachts or jet airplanes. All of those items will rust or decay and nothing will remain of them. Even if they withstand the test of time, you won’t. In time, we all have an appointment with physical death and we cannot take our toys with us. Prosperity is more than just physical items; it is spiritual prosperity. The gift that can easily stand the test of time is eternal life in Heaven with God. That prosperity is priceless.

The blessing of honor is also given to us by God. It is the respect and admiration from others and is also self-worth and self-respect. It means that people see more than just another person. They see a person who has put God and others above themselves and they lead a life devoted to service. When you ask people about something they did that saved lives, each will tell you the same thing. They did it out of service for others and weren’t looking for rewards or accolades. They did what they were called to do with their lives.

When we pursue righteousness and love, God showers us daily with wonderful blessings. The one big blessing that comes readily to mind is the next heartbeat and breath He gives us. The average heart, I am told, has about one billion beats in it over a lifetime. Sometimes people get to live a ripe old age while others may only have a short time, but in both cases, it is not the time, but how they spend their lives that matters. Life means little if you are depressed and disappointed. If you live a life devoted to pursuing righteousness and love, you will have lived more than just life here on Earth. You will also live eternity with the Father. Living a life of true fulfillment and happiness gives us the ability to stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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