S44P6 – The blessings of the Psalms: favor for a righteous life
Who can put into words the mighty deeds of the Lord? Or who can proclaim all His praise? Blessed are those who observe justice, who practice righteousness at all times.
In the beginning, it was pretty difficult. It was not his normal demeanor to be so friendly and happy with strangers. The first few times, he was pretty stiff and quiet. He would say welcome and good morning, but he could not muster up a single smile. A nod of the head was the best he could do. As time went on, it became easier and more natural for him to greet the hundreds of parishioners who would come through the door on a Sunday morning. Eventually, he was no longer a greeter only on Sundays but seemed to take on the character at all times. He would find himself smiling and saying hello to everyone he passed during the day just because this now became his new nature. It started out as work and moved through habit to become his new normal. It was not what he did but now who he was.
There is a reason that today’s scripture uses the specific words “practice”. Righteousness is not something that is within our nature. At the moment of justification, the righteousness of Christ is imputed on us so that on the day of judgement we are justified by him. However, that is not the same as our practicing righteousness as a way of life. It goes beyond simply making the decision to pursue justice and holiness and love. In the beginning, it may be difficult for us to make those decisions. The goal is for our practice of this behavior to become just the way we are. Instead of having to think of the righteous thing to do, it now is our initial response. When we practice righteousness, it starts to become the way that we operate normally. That is where God wants us to get, and He blesses us when we live this way.
Habits can change us drastically. We see this often when someone develops a habit of bad behavior. That practice starts out as something that person does but then begins to take on its own life. It gets to the point where it is a fundamental way that the person operates. Our hope is that we can go through the same process with respect to the things of God. Think of who you were and how you were before encountering Jesus Christ, and think of all the differences in you now. Hopefully, what you see is that you have not only started behaving differently but have become a different person altogether. Father, help us to make righteousness not only something we do but the way that we are, and thank You for the blessings we receive when we do so.