Why Do What Is Right?

A LEARNED man once observed: “Ability to wish is present with me, but ability to work out what is fine is not present. For the good that I wish I do not do, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice.” Why did this man find it difficult to practice the good that he wished? He explained: “I find, then, this law in my case: that when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me. I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members.”​—Romans 7:18, 19, 21-23.

These words of the apostle Paul, recorded nearly 2,000 years ago, explain why doing what is right is a challenge for imperfect humans. Adhering to right principles, especially under trialsome circumstances, requires moral strength. So we do well to ask, What is the most important reason for doing what is right?

Consider what the Scriptures say about the future of a morally upright person. At Psalm 37:37, 38, we read: “Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful. But the transgressors themselves will certainly be annihilated together; the future of wicked people will indeed be cut off.” Proverbs 2:21, 22 tells us: “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”

Although these promises and others found in the Bible provide us with an incentive to pursue a course that pleases God, they do not constitute the fundamental reason for doing so. That reason is related to an issue that involves all intelligent creatures personally. The following article discusses what that issue is and how it affects us.