Proverbs 14:2 “Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly”
Proverbs 12:5 “The plans of the righteous are just…”
Proverbs 12:6 “The speech of the upright deliver them…”
Proverbs 13:6 “Righteousness guards the person of integrity”
Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous choose their friends carefully.”
Proverbs 12:28 “In the way of righteousness is life…”
In these Proverbs, there is much said about “righteous” or “upright” living. To live righteously in simplest terms means to live rightly-related to Jesus. This means taking Him with us as we go, listening to His voice, letting His words dwell richly in us, fixing our gaze on Him as we go about our lives, and making Him the true focal point of our lives. Our original challenge of MANNA was to DO the words, not just read them. This call to righteousness – to being rightly connected to God - can get stuck in my head, and not make it into my heart, my feet, my hands, my tongue. I can make my list of verses like we did in our Great Eight, but just leave them there. Very quickly, I can become a gather-er of the Manna, and not actually EAT it. I know how I am supposed to live, but I am not actually doing that.
If I am real honest about what has my focus and what I am connected to on any given day, I will tell you that it is a lot of J-U-N-K . In fact, the thing that I am most connected to is my phone. It rarely leaves my side. I check in with it all…the…time. It is a bottomless pit of fodder, and it seems to be an overwhelming pull or tug to a path far away from the one described in these chapters. From the flat screen of my phone, I can slander my brother, mock my neighbor, ignore my friend, covet strangers, flirt with an old boyfriend, feed the rumor mill, and frivolously spend time and money on things that have absolutely zero righteous value. And truth be told, I can do this in the parking lot outside of Bible Study.
It is terrifying to me that we are told to watch our tongues because they are like “a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body” capable of devouring entire forests with just a spark, and yet our culture has offered up more ways than ever to spout off. Without being inherently wrong, the age in which we live has made it increasingly difficult to live righteously.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil from which Eve was so tempted to eat and from which God had specifically told her not to eat is described as a ‘delight to the eyes and desirable to make one wise.” I say this so humbly, but that is exactly how I would describe my phone.
So, what if one way to choose the righteous path was to pick up the phone one time less? What if we prayed as rapidly as we texted? What if we prayed in our cars in carpool instead of instagrammed? What if we paused to thank God for the beauty of the nature, the smell of a newborn baby before we waded onto Pinterest? What if we knocked on a friend’s door and told her what a great mother she is, what a great friend she is, how you love watching her live – instead of ‘liking’ them (or silently stalking her) on Facebook? What if we fasted from our phones for even just three hours out of the day and re-connected with Jesus instead?
A challenge: Sometimes to pick up something new, we have to put something else down. Our hands can only hold so much. And the same is true with our minds and hearts. If our desire is to live righteously, wholly and rightly connected to Jesus, what is one thing you could let go of/put down/turn off in hopes of making space for Jesus Christ? Your ‘thing’ may have nothing to do with smart phones. Think about what you ‘carry’ around with you most in your heart and your mind or how you spend your time, and consider putting that down and picking up Jesus. I think He is shouting to us all…. ‘just try Me!’ I can’t wait to hear what you find…