SPF 091: Righteous Living – Legalistic or Full of Joy?

In Psalm 23 David writes, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name sake. What are these paths of righteousness? How do we walk in them? Today we are exploring the theology of righteous living and looking at five examples of how David walked in righteousness. These examples are things God can work in our lives and we can practice today. 


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Give your kid a Popsicle while slathering on the sunscreen! It helps them sit still and enjoy a hydrating snack and gives you the opportunity to put on all the sunscreen they need.

Righteousness – Legalistic or Full of Joy?

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

“Righteousness is something that should be the greatest desire of the Christian’s heart because it is when we are in the closest proximity where God has created us to live.” – Pastor Aaron Carlson

Righteousness is where we were created to live! It’s living according to what is right!

Arguments against righteousness:

  • It’s legalistic

  • It’s by grace we’ve been saved, not by works


Legalism seeks to attain forgiveness through works, but our forgiveness is through Christ alone.

However, we are saved into righteous works. We are new creations and God is now leading us in a righteous path.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:1

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The best part about this righteousness is Psalm 23 says it’s Jesus who leads us in these paths of righteousness.

We don’t have to decide what is right . . . we don’t get to decide what is right.

God has done it for us. And he is leading us down this path of righteousness, so that we can keep moving out of that which destroys and is corrupted into what is true and beautiful and lovely.

He is not driving us along like cattle, but he is SHEPHERDING US with his rod and his staff – meaning he is directing and protecting and Psalm 23 says that is is comfort to us. And He is compassionate toward us!

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

He Leads us in Righteousness for His Name’s Sake

He does it for His names sake. Any characteristic of God we find in Scripture we know He will be faithful to. He is always showing and proving himself to be who He says He is and he is completely the best at it.

When do you have more joy? When you are harsh with your children or husband? Or when you are walking in obedience?

Key Points

  • Jesus changes our hearts to want righteous living

  • When we sin, God enables our hearts to want to repent and through faith we are again seeking righteousness

  • Righteous living instructions are found in God’s Word – it’s how we live out of faith in what God has done for us by showing our obedience to His ways.

Five Characteristics of Righteous Living

From the life of David as written in the Bible:

  1. David’s theology was solid because he had a love for God’s laws

  2. David had absolute faith in God

  3. David was thankful and constantly singing praise to God

  4. David was humble and patient

  5. David was repentant

Ways we can walk in righteousness, all by God’s direction and grace:

  1. Meditate on the Word

  2. Believe in the Truth of who God is

  3. Be thankful, have a heart of praise

  4. Be humble and patiently wait on the Lord

  5. Be repentant

Charles Spurgeon Quote

It is an admirable plan to fix your thoughts upon some text of Scripture before you leave your bedroom in the morning—it will sweeten your meditation all the day. Always look God in the face before you see the face of anyone else. Lock up your heart in the morning and hand the key to God and keep the world out of your heart. Take a text and lay it on your tongue like a wafer made with honey and let it melt in your mouth all day. If you do this, and meditate upon it, you will be surprised to notice how the various events of life will help to open up that text. If that particular text does not seem suitable to some special occasion, steal away into a quiet place and get another one—only let your soul be so full of the Word of God that at all the intervals and spaces when you can think upon it, the Word of God dwelling in you richly may come welling up into your mind and make your meditation to be sweet and profitable!


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Knowing Scripture

By R. C. Sproul

Psalms, Vol. 2

WellHouse Records


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