Acting in a moral and upright way that honors God, regardless of who is watching.
Read Esther 2:8-18; 4:13-16.
King Ahasuerus was seeking a queen to replace Vashti. Beautiful women were gathered from all over the province as possible candidates. His search ended when he found Esther. Early in Esther's reign, she was faced with a very difficult situation. Her people (the Jews) were to be destroyed by a decree from the evil Haman, who was the king's second in command. Esther was in danger for her own life if she revealed herself to the king. With an attitude of prayer and fasting, Esther stood up for righteousness and saved her people from destruction. Esther made a right decision and exhibited great character because she had a right relationship with God.
Dr. Jack Graham said it like this, "Character is doing right no matter what the cost or consequences." Why is it important to do the right thing? 2 Corinthians 8:21 tells us, "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men." As this verse reminds us, doing right has benefits before the Lord and others. From the Lord's view, he delights in righteousness as noted in Psalm 15. Doing the right thing results in the crown of righteousness.
In terms of other people, we have the opportunity to dramatically impact them through right behavior. Mark Twain once said, "Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Conscience is what leads a person to do right. A conscience is molded from the first lessons we learn about right and wrong. If we are never taught those lessons, we fail to develop a moral conscience. If we are taught poorly or incompletely, we develop a stunted conscience. If we override our conscience and refuse to obey its advice, we develop a hardened conscience, and over time, we will live as if we don't have one. Without a conscience, our lives are lawless, immoral, and tainted-without character.
We need to nurture our conscience by continuing to reinforce what you know to be right. One way to do that is to read aloud the Word of God and to hear it preached. I'm convinced that when our character and conduct are Christlike, people will be converted. For me, these are reasons enough to seek after righteousness.