Reading: Proverb 10

Help Me Be Righteous in My Work and My Words

We’ve all been conditioned to think of the word “righteous” as synonymous with “holier-than-thou,” but as Christians we need to understand that the primary work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to make us righteous. Proverb 10 reminds us that righteousness is not merely a condition of our mind or heart, but also our hands and our tongue.

It’s Monday morning as I write these words, and I wonder how many of us started our work week asking God to help us work righteously? I confess that I didn’t until I was reminded by this chapter to do so.

Verse 3 says:

Proverbs 10:3 (ESV) — 3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

But then the verses that follow say…

Proverbs 10:4–5 (ESV) — 4 A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. Do you see how it connects diligence, hard work and planning to our righteousness? This is how the righteous work and it is how the Lord provides for the righteous. So often we are discontented with what we are doing in our work that we offer less than our best or spend our time longing for something else we might do with our lives. But these verses tell us that it doesn’t matter as much what we are doing as how we are doing it. Let’s approach our work, whatever it is today, as a demonstration and outgrowth of the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our hearts.

A second theme is how righteousness affects what we say. A righteous person’s words will be measured and few (v.19), will not know what is perverse (v.32), and will be a fountain of life that covers the offenses of others rather than stirring up strife (v.11-12). What will our words say about us and the work the Spirit has done in us? If we would be free from bondage in our speech, we should set boundaries for our words. Are we speaking too much? Are we speaking of perverse and unrighteous things? Are our words producing peace or division?

Let’s ask God to help us be righteous today in our work and our words.