“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
We are called to the daily pursuit of rightness and loving kindness. Please recognize that rightness and love are virtues that need to be pursued. The Hebrew words used here is radaph, and it means to seek and chase something with great effort and energy. The idea is not just pursuit, but to relentlessly chase and take hold of rightness and love.
These are non-negotiable, core virtues of the kingdom of God. Thus we should pursue them passionately, relentlessly, and constantly. Nothing else will do.
The admonition to pursue rightness, love, and wisdom is a central theme in the book of Proverbs. We read it in chapter 2 where Solomon admonishes us to seek wisdom for the priceless treasure that it is.
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures ... ” (Proverbs 2.1-4)
In order to enjoy the blessings of wisdom, you must seek wisdom as you would seek treasure. You must recognize the immeasurable value of wisdom. You must seek it relentlessly, with all your heart. Ask for it. Cry out for it. Search for it. If you want true wisdom, you can’t dabble. It is not a casual, occasional pursuit.
The relentless, passionate pursuit of God’s wisdom, rightness, and love will bring you face-to-face with the Creator. Wisdom, rightness, and love don’t come from somewhere, they come from Someone. Seek the Lord and you will see his greatness and holiness. You will see the truth he has spoken in scripture. You will begin to understand his purposes and plans, and you will learn the principles he has given for how people ought to live and work in the world he created. Most importantly, the Lord will teach you how to apply wisdom to the situations and people in your life.
“Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2.5-8)
We are told that it is through wisdom that the Lord gives us protection: He is our “shield,” and he “guards our path” and “watches over us.” Note that we receive the Lord’s protection if we “walk in integrity” and we stay faithful to “the way.” If you deviate from the way, then you are no longer under God’s shield. You are no longer under his protection.
Is this not common sense? Even the secular world speaks of “at risk” behavior. To reject God’s standards is to remove yourself from his protection and put yourself at risk.
Note also that God’s wisdom is the gateway to God’s righteousness. The relentless pursuit of wisdom is necessary for a proper understanding of righteousness and love. There are many counterfeit versions of righteousness and love, and it’s easy to be deceived and adopt a distorted version.
“Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech.” (Proverbs 2.9-12)
The pursuit of wisdom and righteousness is essential for a successful and effective life because that it what keeps you “on every good path.” What a great picture! You can live your life on-path, or you can live your life off-path. The Lord’s wisdom gives you the discernment to recognize deceitful people who want to take you off-path, and it gives you the discipline to stay on-path.