The Righteous City

Malachi 1–4; Revelation 22

May he produce in you . . . every good thing that is pleasing to him. Hebrews 13:21 NLT

On New Year’s Eve 2000, officials in Detroit carefully opened a hundred-year-old time capsule. Nestled inside the copper box were hopeful predictions from some city leaders who expressed visions of prosperity. The mayor’s message, however, offered a different approach. He wrote, “May we be permitted to express one hope superior to all others . . . [that] you may realize as a nation, people, and city, you have grown in righteousness, for it is this that exalts a nation.”

More than success, happiness, or peace, the mayor wished that future citizens would grow in what it means to be truly just and upright. Perhaps he took his cue from Jesus, who blessed those who long for His righteousness (Matthew 5:6). But it’s easy to get discouraged when we consider God’s perfect standard.

Praise God that we don’t have to rely on our own effort to grow. The author of Hebrews said it this way: “May the God of peace . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:20–21). We who are in Christ are made holy by His blood the moment we believe in Him (v. 12), but He actively grows the fruit of righteousness in our hearts throughout a lifetime. We’ll often stumble on the journey, yet still we look forward to “the city that is to come” where God’s righteousness will reign (v. 14).

By: Karen Pimpo

Reflect & Pray

For what Christlike attributes would you like to be known? How can you encourage others to seek God’s righteousness?

Dear God, please work in me what’s pleasing to You.