Psalm 4:5 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD.”
Everyday people make sacrifices. The sacrifice of giving up time or in helping others are decisions that are made every day. Some people sacrifice their strength by striving to get rich, while others sacrifice their youth in reckless abandonment for pleasure. The sacrifice of raising children in a godly home reaps rewards later in life, or helping an ailing parent or family member who can’t care for themself. There are good and bad rewards in life, some lived wisely and others in foolishness.
Musician sacrifice their time in practicing their play and pastors in preparing for a sermon, but each gains the reward of preparation. The godly homemaker invests in her family, knowing the investment of faith will not be lost. Whether it’s the laborer or the lazy, every person on earth only has twenty-four hours each day and those days add up to months and years that come far too quickly…..often forgetting that those days are numbered.
Seize the Day!
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Within the daily rituals and responsibilities lies an undercurrent of spiritual sacrifice that become decisions that will affect a person for eternity. A decision of whether to honor the Lord or to honor themself is made by every person every day.
Bound within the context of all we see is a spiritual element of responsibility, lived out day by day with barely a notice. Only the discerning can see the righteous attributes of a faithful man or woman of God, living in obedience to the Spirit as they go about their daily chores. The product of a life fully submitted to God’s righteousness becomes a fruitful harvest of peace and joy in the Lord. But there are many more rewards that await the life of the righteous, for those who can see, the rewards are far more valuable than anything this world can provide.
Revelation 14:12 “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
To walk in righteousness requires sacrifice. Placing God’s standard above their own, the faithful choose to honor the Lord first in both thought and deed. If an action requires a compromise in righteousness, the faithful choose obedience over personal gain. This path requires a daily determination in how a righteous person lives, thinks, speaks, and where they stand in life. Everything becomes a sacrifice of worship and honor to the Lord who has redeemed the righteous from death.
The Rewards of the Righteous
*The Lord lifts up the righteous and by justice they are absolved of all guilt.
Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.”
Sin lowers a person in shame and guilt. Disgrace is upon the heads of all who reject God’s standard of holiness. The Lord promises that He will not acquit the wicked and in judgement they will receive their due. Lives lived for selfish gain, lived by their own standards of morality, and following after their own gods—the legacy of fools is long and arduous, difficult all along the way is the life that ends in terror.
The righteous walk in the light of God’s holiness and it pierces the darkness. The light exposes evil, it confronts wickedness, and leaves no room for impurity. The perfection of Christ has been bestowed upon the righteous and therefore their guilt has been absolved.
*The promises of God’s goodness wait in store for the righteous to receive.
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
There is trouble in life both for the righteous and the unrighteous. The rain falls on both and drought affects both their fields. Sinful people attack and show hatred, cancer grows, and the afflictions of a sinful world become too numerous to count. For the unrighteous, a life of trouble only progresses into the terrible reality of Hell. For lack of trust, the disgraced will find themselves in darkness, with no light left to guide their way, but for the righteous it is not so. The Lord Himself will wipe away their tears, the second death has no power over the righteous and all weeping comes to an end. The former things will pass away for the righteous, and only good will remain. For the unrighteous, the former things will be to their shame, and they will be reminded of those things for an eternity.
*The Lord lifts the burdens of the righteous.
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
For the righteous, there is joy in the journey. This world may be ruled by wickedness for a time, but the burden of sin has been lifted from the heads of God’s people. Grace dominates in the life of Christ followers, His sacrifice has become their salvation and they worship Him for it.
The path of righteousness was designed to lead people toward God. Humankind was made to walk this path and everyone who knows it, experiences the goodness of God.
*The righteous are learn and grow by walking according to God’s Word.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
The unrighteous have no fixed point of reference by which to navigate, their lives are lived by an endless path of searching—while the Word of God stands fixed and immovable.
The Word of God not only points the way, it hedges God’s people in and guides them along the path of life.
Choosing to follow the Lord requires them to sacrifice this world into God’s hands. The true believer will not be accepted in a world that is the enemy of Christ. When a man or woman of God stands up for what they believe, they confront worldly values. The world will label believers with marks as being hateful, bigoted, close minded, or even fascist but the believer knows they are only defined by God–He is their judge.
1 Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
One day, those sacrifices will be rewarded.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
If you are a believer, become separate from this world. For those the Lord calls, they will be drawn to the light in you. Shine it brightly for all to see and you will emulating your Savior who formed you.