“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’ Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”
God Looks for Those Who Desire to Live Righteously and Meets Them Personally
God knows very well who is looking for Him. He understands the hearts of those who desire to live righteously. In today’s Scripture passage, there appears a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus. When this man heard that Jesus was coming to his town, he ran out to see Him. However, as he was a short man, he couldn’t see Jesus across the crowd, and so he climbed up into a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Him and saw the Lord from there.
While Zacchaeus was perched on the sycamore tree, Jesus passed underneath the tree, looked up at Zacchaeus in the tree, and said to Him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus then came down from the tree in joy, held a feast for Jesus, and said to Him, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” These words of Zacchaeus were his confession, admitting that although he couldn’t live righteously despite his wish, now that the Lord came to such an insufficient man like Zacchaeus and he met the Lord, he wanted to live righteously from then on. We can see here how Zacchaeus became a changed man.
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. At that time, Israel was a tributary state of the Roman Empire. So when the people of Israel were taxed, a certain portion of the tax revenue was sent to Rome. However, this did not mean that all the tax revenue earmarked for Rome actually made its way to Rome’s treasury. Some of the money was skimmed off by tax collectors. For instance, if $100 were collected in tax, only about $50 to $70 were handed over to Rome, and the rest were embezzled by the tax collectors. In this way, the tax collectors also enriched themselves by diverting some of the tax revenue.
As a chief tax collector, Zacchaeus had also led such an unrighteous life. So when Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house, the people complained about how Jesus was visiting a sinner’s home. However, Zacchaeus had climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus Christ and to find out who He was, and from there he had seen Jesus passing through the town. And when he saw Jesus eye to eye, at this very moment he realized who Jesus was, and a new desire sprang forth in his heart to live righteously.
My fellow believers, every human being has the desire to live righteously. Although in our hearts we all want to lead a righteous life, it’s also true that before we met Jesus, all our lives had gone astray. We are just like Zacchaeus. We had lived by unrighteousness, just wanting to lead a comfortable life and justifying ourselves constantly. But how did Zacchaeus change after he met Jesus? He said to Jesus, “I give half of my goods to the poor.” This means that he was promising to lead an upright life from now on. By saying that he would give half of his wealth to the poor, Zacchaeus was confessing that his heart now desired to live righteously and for a righteous cause. His heart was thus transformed. He also said, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” This is the evidence showing the great transformation that occurred in Zacchaeus’ heart, a man who had always lived in unrighteousness until then. A thief was now declaring that he would turn his heart around and live righteously from now on. Once Zacchaeus met the Lord, his heart was changed in this way.
My fellow believers, it’s when we meet the Lord that our hearts desire to live for the righteousness of God. Moreover, it is only after we meet the Lord that we can actually lead an upright life. Before we met the Lord, none of us was able to live righteously. However, now that we have met the Lord, we all yearn to lead an upright life. Thanks to the Lord, we now have the desire to live a truly righteous and upright life. Having blotted out all our sins, the Lord now dwells in our hearts as the Holy Spirit and abides in us. Just as our Lord had led unrighteous Zacchaeus to desire to live an upright life, so has He also come into our hearts and provoked the desire to live an upright life in us now that we’ve met Him. Isn’t this true, my fellow believers? God has given such desires to our hearts. He has raised these desires in us. We now want to lead an upright life. We want to live for what is righteous. Regardless of how we have lived in the past, God has stirred us to desire to live a new life with a new beginning, and to devote our lives to His righteous work.
Having thus raised the desire to live an upright life in our hearts, the Lord is now guiding us so that we would live such a righteous life. Our Lord works inside us. He gives us the desire to do what is right, and He helps us to achieve it. Like this, God is supporting us from behind. God has clearly given us the desire to live for what is right, but we need to ask ourselves whether or not we have really accepted this will of the Lord. Given the fact that the Lord has raised the willpower to live such a life in our hearts, it would be profoundly wrong for us ignore the will of the Lord. We shouldn’t pretend not to hear Him. The Lord has given us the desire to live a righteous life, and He is always reminding us of this desire. It is then our duty to respond sincerely to the Word of the Lord and His calling, and we should live the rest of our lives according to the God-given desire.
Before I met the Lord, I used to think that I was living a virtuous life for a righteous cause in my own way. When you look back to your life, you probably thought the same way. However, what happened after you and I actually met the Lord? We no longer think about our own righteousness that we had, nor our own virtues, but we think about the true desire that our Lord God has given us to really live for what is right despite the lack of our own strength. Our Lord has given us such a worthy desire to live for what is right, leading us to serve His righteous work in the Church, spread the gospel, and live the rest of our lives for the Lord and His righteous work. He has made us live righteously.
It is not because of our own merits that we are abiding in this Church. It’s not because you are good and righteous that you are in the Church. We are here now because God has stirred in us the desire to live for His righteous work. It’s because God has given us such righteousness and raised such a good desire in our hearts that we have come into the Church and we are now serving the Lord, leading a life of faith and carrying out His good work in our lives. All these things have come about thanks to God. The Lord knows very well who desires to live righteously. And it’s such people whom He meets. Zacchaeus knew his unrighteous self very well. And Jesus also knew very well that Zacchaeus was an unrighteous man. Even though at one corner of his heart Zacchaeus wanted to live righteously, until then he did not have anyone to lead him to the right path. However, when Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to his town, he yearned to see Him, wondering who Jesus was, and as a result of this search, Zacchaeus got to see Jesus.
And once he met Jesus, his heart was completely changed. A great transformation occurred in Zacchaeus’ heart. He now desired to live for what was righteous. My fellow believers, there are those in this world who want to live for what is righteous. Of course, such sublime desires are not the exclusive possession of a few special people, but everyone, including you and me, has the same desire. So long as our conscience has not been seared with a hot iron, all of us have at least some desire for goodness.
However, the problem is that even if we want to do what is right, we cannot do so unless we meet the King of righteousness. Unless one meets Jesus and is led by Him, no one can do what is right. Recently we’ve pledged to offer donations to finance a new church. Such devotion is very good to our spiritual lives. This endeavor is pursued with Jesus in our minds, to do what is right, rather than for the sake of the ministers and the saints per se. It’s a wonderful thing to dedicate ourselves to the righteousness of God. It provides us with an opportunity to serve the Lord before God. It’s an excellent opportunity to do what is right, to serve God with a sincere heart, and to reorient our hearts’ disposition away from the world. If the saints are exempted from serving the righteous work, they will inevitably fall into the world. There is no end to worldly desires; when one desire is satisfied, another desire pops up, leading us to be evermore greedy to fall deeper into the world.
My fellow believers, you will know what I mean once you actually start serving the Lord. You will then come to realize just how gratifying it is to serve the Lord. To this very day we have served the Lord faithfully despite our difficulties. As a result, our Church has spread throughout Korea. Whatever little sacrifices that we might have made to serve the Lord, the result of our endeavor has exceed all expectations, and we are still standing strong to meet new challenges and carry out new tasks. If we had instead devoted our energy to increasing our worldly possessions and taking care of our worldly affairs, there would be no end to this, and it would not bring any satisfaction. However, this work of serving the Lord is truly worthwhile. There is nothing that’s more worthwhile than this work. As you may all know from your own experience, serving the world is meaningless. The world cannot bring any satisfaction to us.
However, if you serve the Lord, your heart will find satisfaction even if your service is small. Every branch of our Church in Korea has pledged to make financial contributions for evangelism even under difficult circumstances and with few resources, and thanks to this devotion, many souls are now being saved all across Korea and beyond. God has blessed us to live righteously. Even though our offerings to God are small, He has blessed us greatly and led us faithfully, so that we may live righteously. God has even enabled us to plant our Churches overseas, and He has stirred up a righteous desire in our hearts and led us so that we would be able to carry out such a great work of righteousness.
Having Met the Lord, Zacchaeus Said, “If I Have Taken Anything from Anyone by False Accusation, I Restore Fourfold”
Now, from this passage we may very well conclude here that Zacchaeus had already lost all his possessions. That’s because most of his wealth had been built unjustly as a chief tax collector. In fact, it wasn’t just most of his riches that were accumulated by stealing, but literally all his riches were ill-gotten, and so it would have taken his entire wealth to pay back his victims. From this we can see that Zacchaeus’ heart was profoundly changed. Once he met Jesus, his heart was completely changed into a new one.
When God saved us, our hearts were also completely changed thanks to the righteousness of God that was installed in us by God. My fellow believers, you should never forget or overlook this. Our Lord has given us a new heart. He has made us do new works. Yet despite this, are we not by any chance drawn to the flesh, and overlooking this desire that the Lord has given us to carry out His righteous work? When the Lord raises His righteousness in our hearts and leads us to do His righteous work, we must obey Him. God has provoked a desire in our hearts to carry out many righteous works and He has made us do what is right. That is how God works in you and me.
Do not follow only your desires of the flesh. If you do so, you will be drawn into a life of complacency and end up thinking that you don’t need to listen to the Word anymore now that you’ve received the remission of sins. Even after receiving the remission of sins, if your heart is attached to the world, you can fall into its bottomless pit with no end. And once your heart falls into the world like this, peace can never abide in your heart. Instead, your heart will be always troubled and tormented. You will suffer. It’s far more tortuous than serving the Lord. There is no satisfaction if your heart falls into the world. Whenever you can’t guard your heart, suffering will soon visit you. It may seem as though everything is going well, but nothing will go well. In the end, you will fall into a trap.
However, if we live according to the righteous desire that the Lord has stirred in us, carry out and serve His righteous work, and follow the Lord and serve Him, then despite our hardships and difficulties, the Lord will lead us to the blessed way of peace. You must grasp that God has inspired such a desire in our hearts. All of us must realize that we have such a desire not because we are righteous on our own, but because God has planted it in your heart and in mine.
Even though you have received the remission of sins, are you not still bound by the world, always worrying about how to make a living, what to eat and what to drink? Or, by any chance, is there anyone among the redeemed who has bet his everything on himself? My fellow believers, you can never live in prosperity just by relying on what you now have. Do you think you would live in opulence if you had a million dollars? Those who are pressed for money may think that they would never have to worry about money if they had a million dollars. But it all depends on how you spend your money. If you think to yourself, “Whatever I have, I will manage it well and make sure that it lasts to ensure my livelihood,” then you will never be able to do any righteous work in your entire life; instead, you will end up spending all your money just on yourself.
However, my fellow believers, if you live for the Lord, then you will be able to live in prosperity even if your present possessions are few. Even as you help your neighbors, live for God’s righteousness, and do the righteous work, you will live the rest of your life as a rich person. We must grasp this. We must realize clearly what the righteous work is, and what is the right life for us to lead. Money is actually worthless unless it’s used for what is righteous. If one turns into a slave of money, he will turn into a despicable person. Every human being should practice and carry out the righteous work before his life is over.
In Zacchaeus’ heart, he had the desire to practice righteousness for the rest of his life. The Bible says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). My fellow believers, do you want to practice righteousness in your life? If that is what our hearts really desire, then God will enable us to do so. I believe that if we yearn to live for the righteousness of God, then God will entrust us with His righteous work so that we would indeed live for His righteousness and carry out His righteous work, all the while abounding in prosperity. Our God’s blessings are given in abundance. If only we have the desire to live for righteousness, the Lord will bless us abundantly.
Looking back to the 30 years of my life that I had lived before meeting the Lord, and the past two decades that I’ve led after meeting Him, I ponder about which life was right and worthwhile. Although it’s a wonderful blessing that I’ve received everlasting life from the Lord to live forever, I am even more rejoiced by the fact that I have met the Lord, and that thanks to this, I’ve been able to lead a more righteous life. Even if one were to live for just a month on this earth, the life that he leads after meeting the Lord is far more precious and righteous than his entire past life. Our Lord has enabled us to do far more righteous work every year after meeting Him than all the work that we had done for decades before we met Him.
We sometimes feel that it’s a burden to do what is right. However, once we give some more thought to it and reach the conclusion that it is the right thing to do, then we ought to participate in this work. We must know whether what we are doing is right or wrong, choose the right work, and carry it out. God plants unambiguously right desires in our hearts.
However, the problem is that we succumb to fear too easily without even thinking about it carefully, and that is why righteous desires disappear from us, and in the end, we find ourselves able to neither practice righteousness nor fulfill our will, and instead live in wretchedness for the rest of our lives. We should not be deceived by Satan. The Devil is still trying to lure us into the lusts of the world just like he did to Adam and Eve. Therefore, we must think about what is right, make it our goal, and run for righteousness.
We Must Realize What Is Right in God’s Sight
There are two things in this world that the Lord told us to commemorate without fail to the end of the world. One of them is that we must remember how the Lord has saved us from all our sins by coming to this earth and giving us His body and blood. For this, the Lord told us to hold the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Another thing that the Lord told us to remember is how a woman named Mary, who had been demon-possessed, broke a jar of fragrant oil and poured it on the head of Jesus. Her dedication was to prepare for the burial of Jesus, and it was the confession of her faith that declared, “The Lord Jesus has blotted out all my sins with His baptism and His blood on the Cross. He has offered such a wonderful sacrifice with His own body for me that nothing is more precious than this salvation.” The Lord was pleased with Mary’s faith and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9).
What is the most righteous work in this world? It is serving the gospel. Serving the gospel is the most righteous work. Do you believe this? Serving the gospel is what pleases the Lord the most. In the sight of the Lord, this is the most worthwhile work. What you do to serve the gospel is stored as your rewards before the Lord, and it is also what bears the most virtuous fruit. Planting churches, spreading the gospel to souls, and serving it in whatever way possible, whether with our possessions, prayers, bodies, services, or time—these are the righteous work that we can do for the gospel, and they are also what pleases the Lord the most.
By preaching the gospel, we commemorate the act of Mary Magdalene, which the Lord told us to remember. This woman had been demon-possessed, but after she met the Lord, she broke her priceless alabaster jar of fragrant oil for the burial of the Lord. And she poured the whole bottle on the head of Jesus. At that time, those nearby thought to themselves, “That woman must have gone mad. Why did she break the alabaster jar of fragrant oil and pour it on Jesus’ head? It would have been better if she had sold it and gave the proceeds to the poor.” They criticized Mary and rebuked her like this. And they criticized Jesus as well, saying, “How can You just watch this woman wasting so much and not do anything about it? Why are You leaving her alone?”
Jesus then said to them, “The poor will be always with you, but I will not be with you always.” He also said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” This means that Mary did what was right. Through her righteous act, the Lord is speaking about how we should serve the Lord. And He is encouraging us to serve Him in the right way. My fellow believers, we all need to learn from Mary’s example, realizing that what she did here was the right thing to do.
Poverty is an intractable problem that cannot be resolved no matter how much we try to help the poor. Even though rich countries have been providing economic assistance to poor countries for many years, the problem of poverty has not been resolved yet. Take a look at what’s going on in countries like Ethiopia and Somalia. Despite the fact that the whole world came to the assistance of these famine-stricken countries, many people there are still continuing to die of starvation. These countries received a tremendous amount of food and aid from countries all around the world. Why is it then that so many people are still starving to death? Even though many countries and organizations have worked hard to alleviate poverty, such efforts have produced hardly any change and little fruit. This is a serious failure. In Korea there is a saying that even kings cannot eradicate poverty.
However, although the effort to address the problem of perpetual poverty has resulted in little progress, with many people continuing to die in abject poverty, serving the gospel of Jesus Christ is not in vain. The preaching of the gospel bears fruit. If you serve the gospel, countless people will receive the remission of sins. Serving the gospel will bear such fruit. None other than this is the right thing to do. Even though people may not be rescued from their poverty by the gospel, they can still receive their spiritual salvation. What a precious fruit is this? Thanks to the services and sacrifices of the predecessors of faith, on account of their righteous acts, countless people following us are being saved.
The Lord commended the saints of the Church in Philadelphia for their faithfulness. He said, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8). The Church in Philadelphia had little strength, but the saints there had kept God’s Word faithfully. The Lord is truly pleased when we keep our faith until the end. If this faith is corrupted, we will be thrown into tremendous suffering.
Like this, the Lord is interested in the faith that we are defending and the gospel that we are serving. In other words, the Lord is interested in those who are doing what is right after meeting Him, those who have become His people. The reason why we are following God and doing what is right is because God said that He would remember everything, and that we would never lose our rewards for the smallest things that we have done, even for giving a cup of cold water to the little ones.
You and I must realize clearly and remember just how much God approves us when we serve the gospel. He is pleased with us. When the Lord saw a poor widow putting in two mites on the collection plate, He praised this poor widow, saying, “She out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Whatever we may have, we must realize that what’s important is our hearts’ desire to do the right thing and follow the righteous work, the heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, and the desire to practice righteousness.
My fellow believers, I admonish you all to participate in the righteous work even if it is small. And I ask you to participate in great works as well. Be rejoiced to serve the Lord. I am sure that there is no end to your heart’s desire to serve God. There always are more things that you can do to serve the Lord, and I know that God will give you everything you need to serve the Lord. If we serve the Lord wholeheartedly, God will provide for all our needs. He will not only provide for what we need to serve the Lord, but along with this He will also provide for everything we need to make a living.
A righteous life is one that is led by doing what is right. God has given us such a disposition. Just as He provoked Zacchaeus’ heart to yearn for God’s righteousness, so has the Lord also provoked the hearts of the saints to long for the righteousness of God. Let us then not deny this. Let us instead live for God’s righteousness in obedience. That is the right thing to do. If you cling to the few things that you now have and rely on them, then you will have no choice but to live the rest of your life confined by the limits of your possessions and you will bear no fruit. However, if you serve the Lord, pray to Him, and live by faith, then you will surely live a prosperous life even after offering all your possessions to the Lord. My fellow believers, you must learn this secret of service.
If you fret about your possessions, the Lord will say to you, “Live the rest of your life with what you have now.” However, even if you have no possession, if you serve the Lord with all your heart, then He will fill you even more if only to be served by you and fulfill His will. This is the secret of service. It’s not a lie. It’s the Word of God promising us that if we serve the Lord, the Lord will take care of us. If you serve the Lord, then the Lord will serve you. This is the secret to a successful life. It’s the hidden truth. It’s the truth appreciated by only those who have actually served the Lord.
Those who live according to the Word of God are able to recognize the white stone given by God. The Lord said in the Book of Revelation, “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it” (Revelation 2:17). Only those who have served the Lord are able to experience how the Lord helps them in their everyday lives. This is the life that all of us should lead as Christians. Unless we serve the Lord, we will remain at the level at which we find ourselves. But if we serve the Lord, then we will be able to live in abundant prosperity. Do you grasp this? We must give wholehearted thanks to God. Such a way of service is a mystery. It’s not just the remission of sins that’s mysterious, but this, too, is a blessed mystery.
What would you do if you had a million dollars? If I had a million dollars, I’d use it for a worthy cause. I’d start new businesses to carry out the Lord’s work. But for some people, a million dollars means little. It’s not enough for them, other than to barely make a living. But if I had a million dollars, this money would not be wasted on just eating and drinking. Instead, I’d invest it wisely to increase the amount by dozens and hundreds of times. I’d maximize the return to serve the Lord. Based on the investment of a million dollars, I’d produce millions more dollars in return.
This is how the people of faith are different from ordinary people. You have received the remission of sins. How should you then live from now on? If you cling to your possessions like Scrooge, your wealth will not increase. You will instead lead a penny-pinching life only to die in the end. However, if you live to serve the Lord, you will be able to live in prosperity. For those who serve the Lord, their lives will be made richer even after giving up all their possessions. This is what the Lord is saying to us through today’s Scripture passage.
We don’t know exactly how much wealth Zacchaeus had accumulated. But since he was a chief tax collector, he must have accumulated a lot of ill-gotten wealth. However, even though Zacchaeus had enriched himself unjustly in greed, once he met the Lord, he confessed, “I will give half of my possession to the poor.” What a rich life is this? Before Zacchaeus met the Lord, he was a penny-pinching miser who gave not even a cent to the poor despite being a rich man. However, after he met the Lord, he said that he would give half of his possessions to the poor. And he also said, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Having met the Lord, Zacchaeus’ heart discovered the righteousness of God, and his entire life was transformed to live such a rich life.
When you look at the life that Zacchaeus was leading before meeting the Lord and the life that he began to lead after he met the Lord, which is richer? Which Zacchaeus is richer—the old, penny-pinching Zacchaeus or the new, transformed Zacchaeus? It’s the new Zacchaeus who lived a richer life after meeting the Lord. This is what it really means to be rich.
Zacchaeus was so short that he had to climb up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. A sycamore tree is not that big. How short, then, must he have been to climb up a sycamore tree? He wasn’t just a bit shorter than the average man at the time, but he was among the shortest of all. So he couldn’t see Jesus across the crowd, and that’s why he climbed up into a sycamore tree. What did Jesus do then? He saw and recognized Zacchaeus despite his short stature. He called Zacchaeus perched on the tree and revealed Himself to him, saying, “Zacchaeus, come down, for today I must stay at your house.” How did Jesus know about Zacchaeus then? He knew about Zacchaeus because He had come to his town to meet him personally. After meeting the Lord, Zacchaeus lived in prosperity. He led a righteous and upright life.
Once we receive the remission of sins, at the very least we must serve the Lord in our lives. This is what every Christian’s life is all about. You need to grasp here that this is the life that the righteous who have received the remission of sins should all live, and that it is the normal life that every righteous person is expected to lead. If we fail to serve the Lord even as we have received the remission of sins, the Lord will not serve us either. The Lord serves those who serve Him. He said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). If you want to be loved by the people of the world, then serve the world and its people. If, on the other hand, you want to be blessed by God, then serve God. You will reap what you sow. Although the remission of our sins is received as a gift through out faith, our rewards are reaped according to what we sow. Those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness will be called God’s sons and daughters, and they will be rewarded for their suffering. The Lord will serve those who have served Him. In contrast, those who serve the world will suffer because of the world.
All of us must grasp this elementary truth. How you live your life is not up to me, but I have to teach you the basic principles that you should know as a Christian. Whether you, after listening to the Word of God, practice what you’ve learned or not depends entirely on you. It depends on your personal relationship with God. Try serving the Lord for a change. Then the Lord will never leave you alone. He will repay you in one way or another and clothe you in abundant grace for serving Him. The Lord will serve you even more than what you’ve done to serve Him. Those who have actually served the Lord know this. Try not to be so stingy when serving the Lord. The Lord will then not be so stingy with His blessings either.
Rather than working directly by Himself, the Lord does everything He wants to do through us, in the hearts of our redeemed saints, by borrowing our hands, lips, legs, eyes, and ears. God blesses those who are used by Him even more, so that they may bear more fruit and be used even more. Do you believe this, my fellow believers? This is God’s principle.
My dear fellow saints, I admonish you all to live for what is right. The Lord has provoked righteous desires in us. I ask you to live according to these righteous desires. I admonish you to live the rest of your life righteously and uprightly. Do not waste away your life in vain. Do you want to be happy? Then follow the Lord. Your happiness is then already secured. Do you want to be blessed in your life? Follow the Lord then, and you are guaranteed to be blessed. God has planted righteous desires in us to practice righteousness. Even at this very moment, God is stirring up righteous desires in us.
Once such desires are provoked, we are driven to serve the Lord in whatever way possible, so much so that our hearts are actually tormented if we do not carry out the Lord’s righteous works and fail to serve Him even for a day. Is this also true for you? God has provoked righteous desires in us. He has given you and me the desire to lead an upright life.
Let us then all give praise and thanks to our Lord God.