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“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.” Proverbs 21:21
I’ll never forget the advice my pastor gave me twenty years ago when I worried about repeating generational mistakes. Divorce ran rampant through my family’s history and brokenness followed each generation. I knew I didn’t want to follow in those footsteps, but I didn’t have healthy relationships as a model. Fear caused me to ponder past mistakes and kept me bound in an unhealthy relationship with my past creeping into my present.
He advised me to dwell on what I wanted to become rather than what I wanted to avoid. It’s a simple mindset shift that projected me down a path of searching for the legacy God wanted to create in me. Our pasts shape and refine us when we turn them over to God’s redemptive power, but our pasts define us when we allow fear to dictate our daily decisions.
This verse from Proverbs reminds me that what I pursue has a direct correlation to the legacy I create. If we sow to the flesh, we’ll reap according to the flesh. But if we sow according to the Spirit, we will reap according to the Spirit.
Pursuing righteousness means we study the Word of God to find His plan for right-living. This world a mixed up, upside down world we live in, where right seems wrong and wrong seems right. But God calls us and sets us apart and so we learn to live according to his ways. This means we let go of bitterness and extend forgiveness. Righteousness sometimes means keeping our mouth shut when spiteful words rest on the tip of our tongue.
In order to love the way God desires us to love, we must receive the love he has for us. Now, love in our society is a word tossed around like a hot potato. No one can seem to hold onto it for long. But when we grow in our understanding of how deep and wide and high and long God’s love is for us, our capacity to love others grows and gets refined.
If you have a past that’s creeping into your present and affecting the good God wants to do in your life, pursue righteousness. Pursue love. For in your pursuit of these two things you will find the Kingdom of God and it’s there that we know love, blessings, and honor.
Oh Lord, we exchange our wicked ways for your right ways. We surrender our hurts for your healing and our limited understanding for your understanding that has no limits. This unrest we feel in our heart? We exchange it for your peace. We decide, today, that we will pursue your ways no matter the cost. We may grow tired, but we will endure. We may doubt your goodness, but we will believe in faith. Only you God have the answers to the questions in this life. Grant us your strength and stamina to pursue righteousness and love all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.