The truly righteous are humble and do not draw attention to themselves. Jesus teaches to seek true righteousness for its reward. The righteousness that Jesus speaks of is profound and totally different from anything taught in the Law of Moses.
Thirst and seek
The beatitudes are a perfect teaching on righteousness. Restlessness and longing are in me until I begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Father, All the things I want will be found in your kingdom and your righteousness. Fill me and give me a heart to seek you and your righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
True righteousness is nearly invisible to others. Jesus warns me to avoid the showy appearance of religious fervor and to not judge and condemn others who appear as sinners. He does not use the word ‘self-righteous’, but he urges me to avoid hypocrisy.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
The reward of righteousness is the only thing that matters in eternity. It is personal and directly associated with my secret life. “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1
The secret of righteousness is secretive. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:5-6
Father, I hunger and thirst for righteousness. I desire to please you in every way and to grow in your love. Help me to become pure, selfless and loving and grant me the reward of righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.