Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Blessings.9

"Blessed are you, who pursue righteousness (or persecuted for righteousness). You will become the citizens of the kingdom of God. Blessed are you when you suffer blame and are spoken evil of for doing my will. Rejoice! Leap for joy! Great is your reward in heaven. In a similar manner they persecuted the prophets before your time." --Jesus

My mom used to offer $5 bucks to my boys to read a book.
 She didn't care what book, she just wanted them to read. Today I'm sure my boys could not remember what they spent the money on; but they are grateful for the motivation from Grandma to learn to love reading!

Would God have us love righteousness?
Yes, of course, and to entice men to love His way of thinking, doing and being He offers "Great Reward!"

What is the reward? The envelope please...

The Reward of Righteousness is: Righteousness!! How about that?! Just as the reward of learning to read is reading and the one who has learned to love reading never feels cheated, so too the one who has learned to love righteousness knows the hope of living in a place--forever--where righteousness is the rule not the exception.

But learning to be and being righteous has its pitfalls. The Lord of Life, who teaches those who hunger & thirst for His righteousness, knows that without "willed effort" after it, humanity is capable of beastly things. Those who make any attempt at being righteous--defined simply as believing God in such a way that when the time for action comes a man or woman (with childlike heart) will obey God; it is the highest act, the deepest, loftiest righteousness of which a person is capable--will be distinguished in behavior from the neighbor who has no such faith or compulsion.

It is the the duty, the fair play, goodwill and love born of righteousness toward a neighbor that, at times misunderstood and unappreciated, make the learning more difficult. "It is the part of the enemy of righteousness to increase the difficulties in the way of becoming righteous, and to diminish those in the way of seeming righteous." But will not the same Lord who requires of us the same righteousness that exists in Him, not give all the encouragement He can by "word of love, deed of power and promise of good?
What reward then for becoming more and more righteous?
"...the doer of right grows better and humbler, and comes nearer to God's heart as nearer to His likeness; grows more capable of God's own blessedness, and of inheriting the kingdoms of heaven and earth. To be made greater than one's fellows is the offered reward of hell, and involves no greatness; to be made greater than one's self, is the divine reward, and involves a real greatness.
 --adapted from George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons III, Righteousness