Any believer who does any of these things that the Bible spoke against is walking in “unrighteousness,” and he knows it. Or should know it. As children of GOD, one of our duties is to seek ways of pleasing our heavenly Father. When we do so, we are honouring Him.
The Holy Spirit may teach you other ways of avoiding those sinful behaviors. The Holy Spirit is your Helper. He will surely teach you the best way to walk in the light of GOD’s Word. Yours is just to obey Him and follow His guidance.
Unrighteousness Is Sin … Avoid It!
The Bible gives us a simple instruction for living a glorious, fulfilled life in Matthew 6:33 (KJV). It tells us in a clear language that is devoid of ambiguity. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;” the Word of GOD counsels, “and all these things shall be added unto you.”
That is a plain language. It’s straight-forward. And it is clear. But just in case any believer decides to claim he’s not clear of its meaning, the Bible devoted several passages to what unrighteousness is.
In Jeremiah 22:13-14 (NKJV), the Bible paints a picture of what unrighteousness is. It says:
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work, who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion’.”
Any believer who does any of these things that the Bible spoke against is walking in “unrighteousness,” and he knows it. Or should know it.
As children of GOD, one of our duties is to seek ways of pleasing our heavenly Father. When we do so, we are honouring Him. The challenge many believers have in this regard is that they are sometimes not too clear about what unrighteousness is.
They have the general idea that unrighteousness is evil, a sin. And 1 John 5:17 confirms it, “all unrighteousness is sin”. But what specific things can be classified as unrighteousness? We find the answer in Romans 1:28-32 (AMP):
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness.
“They are gossips [spreading rumors], slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them.” (Emphases mine).
That is our Father’s definition of unrighteousness in the Bible, His Word. Let us examine some of these ungodly acts in order to fully appreciate how damaging they could be to us and our neighbours. And the several ways they can put us into conflict with our Father’s will.
A close relation of covetousness, greed is a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed. Example: You and others, say your siblings, inherited the landed property of your late father. Everyone was allotted their share. But you greedily start to scheme to ‘corner’ the ones belonging to your siblings.
The Bible in 1 Timothy 6:10 (AMP) declares: “For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.”
By all means, avoid it!
This is a feeling of sadness that comes from wanting something that belongs to another so badly that you are ready to do anything just to have your own. Example: You are a lady and your friend has just bought an expensive dress which you cannot afford. In order to acquire it, you turn yourself into a prostitute, just to raise money to buy it. Or, even worse, plot to kill somebody to get his money and buy that dress.
The story of king Ahab, his wife, Jezebel and Naboth, the vineyard owner, in 1 Kings 21:1-16 (AMP), graphically illustrates envy: “Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, close beside the [winter] palace of Ahab king of Samaria;
“Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, ‘Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a garden of vegetables and herbs, because it is near my house. I will give you a better vineyard for it, or, if you prefer, I will give you what it is worth in money.’ But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you.’
“So Ahab [already upset by the Lord’s message] came into his house [feeling more] resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face, and would not eat any food.
“Then Jezebel his wife came to him and asked him, ‘Why is your spirit so troubled that you have not eaten?’ And he said to her, ‘Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘“Give me your vineyard for money; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it.’” But he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ Jezebel his wife said to him, ‘Do you now reign over Israel? Get up, eat food, and let your heart rejoice; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite’….
“When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, she said to Ahab, ‘Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you, because Naboth is no longer alive, but dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.”
That’s naked envy and the fruit it can bear.
When there is a very angry or violent disagreement between two or more people or groups, this is called strife. And it is so dangerous that a family or even a nation can be so disunited as a result of strife that everyone goes their separate ways. Strife is a veritable source of disunity, no matter what caused it.
This is usually an attempt to deceive somebody. A dishonest behavior. Example: You’re a diesel seller. But your ‘diesel’ is mixed with kerosene so that you can make more profit. Be warned!
If you do anything that causes pain or injury to another person, this is malice. For example, someone close to you is due to travel abroad. Then you go and hide the person’s passport, thus preventing the person to make his trip. That action is a display of malice.
Saying something about someone which is untrue and, as a result, people start to react to or view the person you spoke of falsely negatively, that is called slander. Jehovah in Leviticus 19:16 (AMP) expressly warns against it: “You shall not go around as a gossip among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor [with slander or false testimony]; I am the Lord.”
INSOLENCE (aka the ARROGANT)
To be an insolent (which is a cousin of the arrogant) person, is to be rude or impolite; to show lack of respect for other people. Proverbs 21:24 (KJV) describes such a person as: “A proud and haughty man — “Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride.”
You certainly don’t want to be such a person!
When you give credit to yourself for all your accomplishments, without acknowledging that GOD enabled you to get the result you’re bragging about, or when you’re claiming that you only are responsible for the success of a team, that is the highest form of boasting. And it does not only alienate you from others, it sets you up for the anger of GOD.
Psalm 5:5 says: “The boastful and the arrogant will not stand in Your sight; You hate all who do evil.”
Do you do all or any of these acts of unrighteousness? Then repent of it and ask GOD for forgiveness. That’s what I do whenever I am studying the Bible and I come across these things that some of us do as believers, not knowing that we are committing sin when we do them.
The Holy Spirit has taught me a way to call myself to order and helped me to steer clear of doing them. Usually when I am studying the Bible and I come across these things, I have them underlined and meditate on them.
My goal is to memorize them so that they will be recognized, and I can start to turn away from them one by one. This does not come very easy to me. The reason is because, for years, I had gotten so used to doing some of them that it has become natural to me. So, I do find myself struggling with some of them.
Without fail, the Holy Spirit would alert me quietly each time I crossed the line and did one of those sinful things. I recognize His voice clearly now. And before I could perform the act, I would stop myself from doing the thing.
But before now, when I just started to learn how to listen and obey the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, I would pretend that I didn’t hear Him and commit the sin anyway. Then after the act, I would say, “Father, I’m sorry. Forgive me in Jesus name, sometimes quoting 1 John 1:9.
But over time, I started questioning my sincerity. If I keep doing the same thing and asking GOD for forgiveness, am I doing the right thing? I am sure it was my Gentle Teacher, the Holy Spirit, that led me to that line of thinking. And my answer was always: “No, it is not right.” If it is not right, then stop doing it the Holy Spirit would counsel me. And I would find the grace to eventually stop doing that thing.
That strategy may also work for you. Or the Holy Spirit may teach you other ways of avoiding those sinful behaviors. The Holy Spirit is your Helper. He will surely teach you the best way to walk in the light of GOD’s Word. Yours is just to obey Him and follow His guidance.
My prayer for anyone reading this message, who desires from his heart to rid himself of these acts that do not please GOD, is that you will find the grace to do so in the mighty name of Jesus. Receive that grace now in Jesus name. Amen.
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