Written by: Gawie de Lange
Article source: JOY! Magazine

I can’t believe that it is a new year already. As we take time to reflect on the previous year, we should ask ourselves: Have I made the right choices? Have I stayed true to my New Year’s resolutions? And what improvements can I make in 2024?

As I ponder these questions, I’ve come to realise that welcoming a new addition to my family has shifted my priorities, consequently altering my focus on my resolutions.

Yearning for righteousness
With this in mind, my focus for this year is singular: to deepen my relationship with the Father. I aim to draw nearer to Him and aspire to embody greater righteousness, seeking alignment with Him. Yet, the concept of righteousness has left me puzzled. What truly defines righteousness?

What does it mean to be righteous?
In its deeper spiritual meaning, righteousness embodies being right in God’s eyes, including the four Cs: character (one’s nature), conscience (one’s attitude), conduct (one’s actions), and command (one’s words). However, understanding this concept prompts another question: How do I practically embody righteousness? What can I do?

Looking to the Bible
A dear friend recently shared a scripture with me that, despite having read it numerous times, I had never analysed deeply, viewing it merely as the backdrop of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story. In doing so, I overlooked a crucial aspect of this passage: Luke 1:6 states, “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God…” Wow, how did I overlook that profound detail?

Emulating biblical examples
When the Bible describes someone as “righteous”, it becomes imperative for us to study these individuals, delve into the passages, and seek to emulate (mirror/imitate) the qualities and virtues that made them righteous, don’t you think? Here are three points to ponder from Luke’s narrative that clarify what made them righteous in the eyes of God:

1. Study the Word of God and obey its commandments. Luke 1:6, “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” Zechariah and Elizabeth were deemed righteous because they faithfully followed God’s commands and decrees. Their commitment to living by the Word sets an example for us. Studying and applying the Word in our lives is essential for spiritual growth.

2. Serve the body of Christ. Luke 1:8, “So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division…” This reflects the importance of serving others in the body of Christ. As our Saviour served us, we’re called to serve one another. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).

3. Pray fervently. “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard…’” This passage reveals that Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed together as a family. The angel’s response highlights the significance of prayer – they prayed, and God listened and responded. What a privilege to serve a living God!

Embracing godly principles
In 2024, I encourage you to embrace these principles: Study the Word, serve within your community and church, and maintain a vibrant prayer life. By doing so, you’ll witness a profound transformation in your relationship with God.

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Date published: 11/01/2024

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