“The righteousness of the good man will make his way straight, but the sin of the evil-doer will be the cause of his fall.” – Proverbs 11:5 BBE
Like many of the Proverbs, this one is a lesson in contrasts or comparisons. Pride versus humility. Honesty versus dishonesty. Wickedness versus godliness. The fool versus the sensible person. Lovers of money versus lovers of God. The entire Proverb is a series of couplets contrasting one way of life with another. And any conclusion reached from this exercise is intended to be a no-brainer. The life of godliness or righteousness is meant to be the obvious winner, and verse 5 sums it up well. “The righteousness of the good man will make his way straight, but the sin of the evil-doer will be the cause of his fall” (Proverbs 11:5 BBE). As New Testament believers, we know that our righteousness is a gift provided to us by God through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. We have been made righteous because of His death on the cross where He took on our sin and, in exchange, we received His righteousness. And it is that righteousness that allows us to live a life that pleases God. This Proverb is not about human effort and our ability to keep a set of rules or standards. It portrays the life of the individual who has made God their highest priority and are willing to allow Him to transform them from the inside-out. The result is a life marked by honesty, integrity, knowledge, joy, wisdom, trustworthiness, generosity, discretion, and the love of God.
To be godly is to be God-dependent. It is an awareness that our righteousness comes from Him, not ourselves. It is an understanding that, left to ourselves, we are nothing more than fools, prideful, arrogant, lovers of money, cruel, ruthless, stingy, lacking in discretion, and incapable of changing our behavior or our hearts. This is not just a list of lifestyle choices. It is a description of two ways of life. One is our natural tendency as fallen human beings. The other is the life of the individual who has discovered God and fallen in love with His grace, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, and holiness. Righteousness is not a goal we strive towards. It is a gift made available to us through a relationship with God. Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, we can have a right relationship with God, and the fruit of that is a life of righteousness. God changes our heart and, as a result, our behavior. Our godly lives are proof of our relationship with God Himself. Wisdom, generosity, discretion, honesty and integrity are not the result of our own effort, but the fruit of a loving relationship with God. God Himself shows us the kind of life that honors Him, then gives us the capacity to live it through the power of His Spirit. He produces in us what we could never pull of on our own. So why would we ever choose any other way to live our lives? There’s no comparison.
Father, Your way is best. The life of righteousness is the only way that makes sense. Godliness is a no-brainer. But yet we choose the other way each and every day. We allow our flesh or sin nature to take over and lead us down a path that is nothing more than a dead-end. Thank You for this reminder that there is no comparison between the life You make available to us and the one the world offers up as an alternative. Your way is the best way. The only way. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men