We have all had experiences with the wickedness of this fallen world—from a rude gesture to an unexpected (and inappropriate) website pop-up, to movies filled with murder. It can be difficult to live righteously for the Lord when there are so many opportunities to fit into the mold of the world. Temptations abound, wickedness entices, and evil lurks around each bend. Infants are being killed before they even take their first breath; mass shootings are increasing; and gender identities are encouraged to change on a whim.

Since it seems that society doesn’t promote living righteously, why make the effort?

Why Live a Righteous Life?

Wanting to live righteously should be the natural response to what Jesus has done for us. As Christians, we know Jesus was born of a virgin and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He died a horrendous death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and He rose again on the third day. We deserved that crucifixion. But Jesus was crucified in our place. So why would we not want to try to live a righteous life? We can’t pay Jesus back for His sacrifice, but we can take what He has offered—eternal life—by submitting our lives to Him. He saved us—not just from ourselves and from death, but to Himself, to life.

What Is Righteousness?

True righteousness, in the Lord’s eyes includes humility, selflessness, and living by faith in Him. By contrast, the world promotes living for ourselves. Some examples include maintaining a high social status to put ourselves before others or orchestrating our social media to make sure we look better than others. Self-righteousness is easily identified in our actions, like demeaning others to make ourselves look better. But Jesus calls us to live a different way. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” This world isn’t about you or what you do; it’s about Him, the God we serve. Everything we do is to be for the Lord, not ourselves.

How Do We Live a Righteous Life?

Remind yourself, I cannot in any way attain righteousness on my own. Living by faith in Christ is the only righteousness I will ever have and the only way I will ever have it. Philippians 3:9 says, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” We are all guilty of unrighteousness no matter how sheltered we are. Laziness, lust, vanity, hypocrisy, gluttony, and sarcasm are just a few seemingly small sins that we think nothing of. Yet, small as they seem, we are no better than the murderer in the alley. That is something we need to remember. Strive to live for Christ only; ask for His forgiveness when we sin; and try to be faithful to our heavenly Father.

Living Righteously Amidst Evil

All around us are unhealthy influences that can creep into our lives and turn our eyes away from our King. Through social media, TV, ads, stores, everywhere, we see the rot of Adam and Eve’s sin—and it’s getting worse. We now have access to basically everything in terms of information and entertainment, and this is wildly dangerous. Our minds can be so easily swayed by the influences of the world as we explore the “other side.” Resist these temptations. Live as sons and daughters of Christ. Who we are on social media should glorify God, and what we say at social events should be edifying and acceptable to God.

Jesus is following your Instagram account, watching your posts, comments, and likes. He’s standing in your circle of friends, listening to your conversations. He sees all your texts and how they are received by the other person. Live as Jesus would want His child to live. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). Ask the Lord to help you resist temptations, and accept His assistance, because that will get you through the battle. You were purchased at a price. The One who bought you loves you. He is life, and He has freely given life to you in great measure. This is very good news. He gave His life. Oh how He loves us. Living righteously is only possible by His great grace, and it is the only natural response to what He has done.

Don’t Give Up

All the unrighteousness of this world can weigh us down and cause depression when hope seems lost. But heaven is just around the corner, and our eternal life is waiting. Remain faithful to the end, and you will receive the gift of God (Romans 6:23). We can be faithful only because He is faithful! Live for Christ, so you will not fall into the unrighteousness of this world.

Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.

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Julia Scott is 15 and lives in a small town in Northern California. She has been educated at home by both of her parents since she started school in 2009 in Roseville, California. When she is not writing, she enjoys music, running, swimming, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends. She’s had a great interest in communicating the love of God through writing since she first learned to write. Julia is the eldest of four sisters, all of whom she loves dearly.