When I first sought the King, and His Kingdom, I was not righteous. He welcomed me anyway, and built a relationship with me where I became righteous. Not self-righteous. Righteousness is right standing before the King – which leads to self assurance. In the Kingdom, righteousness is a relationship with the King, protection for the heart, and a road to travel.
When my feet first hit the road of righteousness, I could barely discern it. It gets brighter the further you travel along it. I still had my old friendships, and some were no friends at all.
Back then, I could not love others as myself, for I had not learned to love myself. I was seeking my self worth in the eyes and opinions of other people, especially men. The King, who promised to restore my soul and lead me within the paths of righteousness, had warned me about that. My self esteem has improved since that time and I now enjoy healthy friendships.
In the Kingdom righteousness is like food and drink. I had such a craving for words of affirmation. Its my love language, and I had never heard it spoken. My soul hungered and thirsted for affirmation, leaving me vulnerable to flattery. I learned some bitter lessons about seeking my worth from other people. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” It is from Him that I now see my true worth.
The devil knew where I was vulnerable. Temptation came in the way of a person I thought of at the time as a friend, who I realised later cared nothing for me.
A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. Proverbs 16:29
I did venture down the wrong path, but fortunately I hadn’t gone too far before I saw where it was headed. This time.
In the Kingdom there is a better path, called righteousness. As I said, I didn’t keep to it in the beginning, but I chose it in the end, and it led to happiness, peace, and confidence.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:17
Righteousness is also there for our protection, a piece of armour that covers our heart.
Here is a lesson I learned about righteousness, “How big do you think our hearts should be?” someone once asked me.
Naively, I stretched my arms wide to indicate ‘big.’
“No” my friend said, holding out the palm of her hand, “the heart should be big enough to fit in the palm of your hand, so it can be protected.”
I never forgot the lesson.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23