Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
I woke up earlier than usual this morning … prompted to pray for a friend who is undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor. I ask you all to join me in prayer for his life; his wife and children; and his family; as they surrender and trust in our Lord Jesus for a successful outcome and full healing. Pray there will be no complications…. Pray there will be no infections…. Pray that all thanks and glory for complete healing is offered to the glory of our God and Savior…. This is how we love another as Christ has loved us – Pray!
Our verse today continues to focus on our conduct … how we interrelate with other people … how we love one another. But here we find another aspect … the benefits we receive for ourselves as we endeavor to demonstrate our love to God through love for others. Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. There you go! When our hearts are turned toward righteousness in our conduct … when we love our neighbor as we would ourselves … there is great reward God has promised those who make it their aim to live with these qualities in heart.
Life: Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Cf. Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24) When you and I pursue righteousness and love, we will lose our lives for the sake of Christ Jesus … only to find true life … eternal life in Him. (Cf. 1 John 5:20)
Prosperity We need to be careful with our thoughts here. Prosperity is defined as “a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition.” This could be, and is often applied to financial success or good fortune; however, the Apostle John afforded us some perspective here when he wrote: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (2 John 1:2) When you and I pursue righteousness and love in and through our lives, we will find ourselves flourishing and thriving in body and soul….
Honor The word honor here is used as a noun. It means to have high respect; great esteem. So as we pursue righteousness, mercy, and love in our relationships with others, we will find and receive honor. King Solomon commented on this issue a great deal in his proverbs:
The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility. (Proverbs 15:33)
By humility and the fear (reverence) of the Lord are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)
A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
I want to look at a few other translations of our verse to see the variation of words used:
He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor. (NKJV)
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. (ESV)
Whoever tries to live right and be loyal finds life, success, and honor. (NCV)
He who earnestly seeks righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness, and honor. (AMP)
Here is what I believe Jesus wants us to discover in this verse:
John 12:25-26 (NKJV)
25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Do we want to find life, righteousness, and honor for our lives? These are gifts that we receive from God when we pursue righteousness, mercy, and love for one another. These are the benefits we receive when we serve Jesus and follow His command to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Jesus affirms that our responses to Him … our decisions to follow Him … will result in imputed righteousness … will result in eternal life … and will result in honor that the Father will bestow. Can you imagine? God will honor us? The One who created all things will have high respect and great esteem for us? For sinners that He saved through His own mercy and grace? Yes! If we pursue the fullness of Christ Jesus in our lives through the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit … we will receive His righteousness when we stand before God; we will receive eternal life in Him; and we will receive honor from God the Father.