Things don’t always go according to plan, but that doesn’t invalidate the plan. Stuff may not work as it should, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know how it’s supposed to work. And, while things may not be going according to plan now, while stuff may feel out of whack presently, we need to remember the story’s not done.
So, sticking to the plan, and knowing how things are intended to work, is the way of smart living. Believing that the plan will be accomplished some day, that all things will one day work according to their design, is the way of faith living. And that’s why it’s the way of wisdom to embrace righteous living.
As I hover over Proverbs 11 I’m struck by all the “promises” made to the righteous, all the benefits associated with walking in the way of righteousness. And, honestly, many of them I just don’t see always playing out in the here and now.
The righteous is delivered from trouble . . .
When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices . . .
. . . one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
The desire of the righteous ends only in good . . .
. . . the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
(Proverbs 11:8, 10, 18, 23, 28 ESV)
I take particular note of stuff like this because I am among the righteous (though not the perfect . . . oh, so not the perfect).
I am righteous in Christ (Rom. 3:21-21, 2Cor. 5:21) with a righteousness that comes through faith alone by God’s grace alone (Rom. 1:16-17, Rom. 8:3-4). What’s more, as I seek to walk by the Spirit I seek to walk in the practical, functioning reality of righteousness — not just resting on the laurels of what’s been credited to my account but desiring to actual live out what’s been supernaturally rewired into my new nature.
So, shouldn’t the Proverbs “promises” concerning the righteous be playing out? I’m thinking. Do they always? Nope. So what’s the deal?
The deal is they will work out. God wired this world to function based on righteousness. Flourishing is dependent on a dynamic of veracity, integrity, authenticity, and purity. Right hearts doing the right things for the right reasons — aka righteousness. But this world is not going according to plan. Stuff’s not working as it was intended. Thus, the current, on-going work of redemption. But eventually, redemption’s work will be consummated with a world which functions as planned and works as was originally wired.
We were born for that world. By God’s grace we were re-born for that world. And that’s why, even now in this broken world, we pursue the way of the world to come and embrace righteous living. We walk according to the promises of righteousness even while not yet realizing the full reality of those promises. But the reality is coming. That’s why we walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor. 5:7).
We are the righteous, the righteous in Christ. Thus, the promises are ours. We will be delivered from trouble, we will receive a sure reward, we will flourish, all things will end in good, and the city — the city of God — will one day rejoice when it goes well for us.
Thus, we stand firm in our righteous standing. We live embracing righteous living. We seek to do what’s right in the power of the One who lives in us and through us by His Spirit. We confess and repent when we don’t do what’s right, confident in the on-going redeeming, cleansing power of the cross.
And we do so by the grace of God. And we do so for the glory of God.