It’s interesting how different people’s priorities line up, our likes and dislikes, things we adore and pursue compared to things we are indifferent about. Celebrity athletes are idolized for their physical skills while their lack of moral character is completely ignored. Actors, singers, politicians and the like are admired for their external beauty; their ability to perform, their sex-appeal, and their inner beauty is ignored.
The society in which we live rarely considers, and hardly even talks about…righteousness. Perhaps it’s because righteousness requires something of us. It requires people to align themselves to a standard that may render them un-popular. After all, those attributes that bring us attention, or “love” as the world defines it, are external things that can be seen, or heard, or tasted and thus admired. Political correctness says that those things that make you or me righteous are subjective, and what’s righteous for you, might not be for me. So without a common denominator, something that defines righteousness as a constant thing, not a moving target that changes according to an individual’s opinions or whims, it (said righteousness) really isn’t worthy of admiration. We need a standard to which righteousness must be aligned…for everyone, regardless of their agreement.
God’s Word is that standard. And the world can hardly help itself but to agree in many areas of “moral code”. Rarely will someone argue that taking another’s life, or stealing from someone, or dishonesty, or lying would be viewed as righteous characteristics. The problem today seems to be how people take moral issues and manipulate, rationalize, and redefine them to suit their own desires. So, a statement like, “I did not have sexual relations with that person!” gets reduced to someone’s personal definition of “sexual relations”. Hairs get split to the extent that virtually anything can be made to appear “righteous”. So the important, admirable things become, not those things which are right or wrong, rather those things that appeal to the senses, while we are indifferent to righteousness.
‘I desire to have that candy bar. The fact that Mom and Dad forbid me from having a candy bar is of no concern to me.’ Our love of beauty (to us) without a corresponding love of righteousness goes back to the beginning of time.
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
They knew that this was forbidden by God. But it appealed to the senses. It appealed to their pride, what they wanted. Righteousness went out the window, irrelevant, compared to the immediate desire. The same concept carries over to our human craving for immediate gratification rather than waiting for the right thing. ‘Bird in the hand’ mentality. We pray and pray for something, but then settle for the best thing available now rather than waiting for the right thing later.
Seeking God’s direction and guidance is of little use if we aren’t committed to wait on the Lord for that direction. We need to possess an undying love for righteousness. Physical beauty is fleeting. Those things that appeal to the senses are short lived and temporal. A Godly, righteous heart is eternal and more importantly, it’s what pleases God. Those temporal desires, when they are given priority over righteousness, take control of us and become our God. That then, is idolatry and God won’t tolerate it. It cost Adam and Eve their perfect home in the garden and their perfect relationship with the creator of all things righteous. It will cost us, today, our relationship with our Heavenly Father as well.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 14 …For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?