Fruits of Righteousness (Philippians 1:11)

At one time, I was traveling each week to some point in the country for a speaking engagement. At first, my trips were ill prepared leaving me many times at a hotel without all of essentials that I needed. Eventually, I created a packing list. It was a listed all the items that I needed for traveling and the list remained in the suitcase. In the event that I traveled and discovered that I had a new need, I would add that item to the list. Eventually, I had the perfect list. All I needed to do was check and make sure that everything on the list was packed and if it was, I was set.

Some people try to use the same process in their spiritual lives. They have a list and it contains the “do’s” and “don’ts” for righteous living. In their minds, if they do the things on the “do” list and refrain from items on the “don’t” list, then they are spiritual. I really wish it were that easy, but it is not.

Being spiritual is when a person lives as God expects them to live. In other words, the actions of the person’s life will be righteous. The problem is that any action that may appear to be righteous can also be sinful. For example, is giving to the poor a spiritual or righteous action? It could be, but it also could be sinful. If a person gave because God led them to give, then the action would be spiritual or righteous. However, if the person gave so that they would be recognized, then the same action would be sinful.

Being spiritual cannot be reduced to a list of “do’s” and “don’ts”. Instead, the spiritual life of living as God expects and desires is accomplished by abiding or dwelling in Jesus. When we do this, Jesus lives his righteous life through us. This is know as grace living. Grace living is when God empowers us by living his life through us and the righteous actions of our lives then are really though Jesus Christ.

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)

Instead of trying to manufacture a righteous life, why not instead focus on abiding with Christ. As you do, he will enable you to live beyond your ability. If you don’t, you will experience so much frustration and failure, because without his empowerment, you can do nothing.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)


Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (Matthew 5:6)

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Psalm 5:6)

Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is not something that just happens. It first results from being broken and recognizing that you are unable to live up to the expectations of God and then looking to God for strength and ability (Matthew 5:3). As God enables you and begins to perform his work of grace, you, in an even greater way, recognize the wrong that you have done with your life and you mourn over the deeds and not just the consequences (Matthew 5:4). Because of this, you become meek and yielded to God. No longer do you desire to run your life: you recognize that by yielding to God, you gain blessing in your life (Matthew 5:5).

You begin to ask yourself, “What else does God have to offer? What other errors does your life contain that need to be corrected?” A stirring begins to happen in your life which brings about a longing for what is right. At this point, you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. As a starving person desires that which is necessary for life: food and water, you too will hunger and thirst for the necessities of life or in other words the things of God.

The necessities of life are found through fellowshipping with God. You fellowship with God as you pray and pour your heart out to him. He fellowships with you through his word and through preaching. Fellowship also occurs as you labor together with God in meeting the needs of others. The more fellowship you gain: the more you want. Fellowshipping with God is satisfying and fills the heart of those hungering for righteousness.