Proverbs 14:34, Part 3 Righteousness As Individuals

I.  Pursue your calling

Every Christian is given at least one spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit.  These gifts are given to be used in the pursuit of a calling in the kingdom.  A calling may or may not be your vocation, in fact it is probably not your vocation.  A calling is that service for which you were created and redeemed and must be pursued humbly and yet with great devotion.  We don’t know what Noah did as a vocation before the flood–his calling was to build the ark.  Pursue your calling.

II.  Educate yourself

Pastors are instructed by Paul to “study to show yourself approved…”   They are to study the Word of God so that they can preach, teach, and live it rightly before those whom they serve in ministry.  But this admonition cannot apply only to pastors: it is incumbent upon every Christian to study the scriptures to bring every thought captive to Christ.  Bringing thoughts captive to Christ means thinking rightly and thinking rightly means studying the Law and the Gospel.  The Law shows us how we ought to live, convicts us of our continual failure to live that way, and our utter inability to live that way.  The Gospel shows us that Christ has fulfilled the law for us, including the punishment that belongs to us, and calls us to put our trust for our salvation in him and him alone.  The Law is simply summarized by the two great commandments: 1.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and; 2.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  These are in turn broken down into the Ten Commandments and the Ten Commandments broken down further in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Christ’s sermons.  We should study these things so that we learn what it truly means to love God and love our neighbor.  Otherwise we will fall into mere sentimentality.

III.  Train yourself unto obedience

Training means putting learning into practice.  For the individual this means that study of the Word of God must be put into practice.  We must obey the commandments of the Lord.  This is proof of our love for Him.  Like many things this is simple, not easy.

IV.  Guard your heart and mind

This is stated pictorially by Paul in Ephesians chapter 6:  put on the armor of God.  This putting on the armor is a onetime event that has continuing consequences.  However, this armor must be maintained in good working condition in order to fulfill its purpose.  This maintenance is performed by regular examination of our thoughts, words, and deeds according to the bible and confession and repentance of sin where we transgress.  Especially our desires ought to be examined, because it is our desires that bring temptation, and temptation brings sin which leads to death. These things are the righteousness to be done by individuals.