One of the most life changing concepts I have been studying lately is righteousness. I’ve blogged about it before, but the article that inspires me is “Right or Righteous” by Fred Faller.
The idea is that being righteous isn’t just doing the right thing according to a moral code. Hebraic righteousness, that of the Bible, means doing right by someone.
Understanding this starts with the recognition that there are obligations associated with having a relationship.
The more I think about this, the more I realize this is true. We gave a shower Saturday for our friend Tia. Why did we give the shower? Because she had been a part of our ministry, and we love her. What kind of friends would we have been if we just wished her well and went on? Having a relationship with Tia meant that of course we would celebrate her upcoming marriage with her and give her gifts.
After that I went door knocking with Ken. I was so tired, this was the LAST thing I wanted to do. But my husband was motivated to do this, and I am his partner. So I sucked it up and went out with him.
Friday night I got a phone call from my old friend Lin. I could have let the call go to voicemail, but I answered. Why? Because I care about Lin. I’m not going to blow her off. Friends are there for one another.
Thursday my neighbor was having a tree cut down in his front yard, and it fell on my house and bent my gutter. My neighbor made sure that I knew he would take care of getting the gutter fixed. Why? Because that’s what you should do for your neighbor if you mess up their property
I could go on and on. Our days are filled with things we do for people because we have some level of a relationship with them.
God is the same way. He does things for us, not simply because He is good. We are his creation. We are his people. He cares about us. And thus, He sees it as an obligation to take action on our behalf.
For God, love is not just a warm mushy feeling towards someone. One Hebrew word for it is “checed,” “lovingkindness,” which can also be translated “covenant loyalties.” God sees himself as bound to be loyal to His people. That is His very nature.
So here is a great exercise for today. As you go through your day, identify ways that you are fulfilling the obligations of a relationship. Then try to see how God is the same way in His relationship with you.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matt 7:7-11