Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.
The first few beatitudes have been concerned with the emptying of oneself, be poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn and blessed are the meek. Now Jesus turns His attention to being filled. What is it that we should desire? Again His teaching is counter cultural.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.”
Let me share a secret with you, if you don’t eat or drink anything, you will die. I’m sure some of you knew that already, but just in case, we must eat and drink in order to live and of course thrive, the other extreme is also true. If we over eat or over drink we will die and we will not thrive. In 21st century Britain, obesity is one of the biggest health challenges, what we eat and drink has profound effects upon our health.
When we are hungry or thirsty we should meet that need, it’s a God given mechanism, but when we are full or not hungry, we should put the pasty down!
Here Jesus uses a familiar concept of hunger and thirst that affects us all to talk about spiritual things. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
We are a created people, not an accident or a product of science, but created. Part of that creation is to carry an inbuilt desire for something more, a longing for purpose and meaning.
What are you hungering after? What do you desire above all things? A little time spent researching people’s opinions online reveals a whole host of answers and this is a compilation of some of the most common:
Love, health, success, looking better, losing weight, learning new skills, living longer, having comfort, being safe and experiencing pleasure.
In and of themselves there is nothing wrong with wanting to have success or to be safe or to experience love, but if we are created for something more, if we have a deeper longing within us then none of the above will ultimately satisfy, no amount of “slimming world syn free” meals will bring you ultimate satisfaction no matter what the scales say.
No amount of drugs, sex or pleasure seeking excesses will satisfy the longing of our hearts. Often we perceive they do, but they are short term gains that in time shipwreck our lives, what starts as a £10 free bet can escalate to gambling away thousands and thousands of pounds – all in search of meaning and purpose. Maybe you think that is far fetched, but what starts out as a small itch becomes a bigger itch until that doesn’t satisfy and before we know it- life has spat us out the other end and we are wrecks.
Jesus says something different. He says that righteousness is what we should desire. And we desire this right living, because it’s to be like Christ, it’s to be the people we were created to be. It will satisfy…
So what is righteousness?
It’s being right before God- we know that it is only possible to be right before God in and through Jesus Christ, to confess Him as Lord of our lives. So we should be desiring Jesus and to be like Jesus. What does it mean to be Christ-like?
It is a way of living, visible to others, that may result in you getting some stick (Matt: 5 v10) but considers that living for and pleasing God is more important than anything else.
When was the last time you went about your day, thinking- how can I honour you God, how can I please you with the way I conduct myself today?
So what pleases God? What kind of thing should I desire?
Paul sums it up in Romans 12, let God’s word speak to you, consider His words and the ways and means in which we hunger and thirst after God. How do we display to the world that He is our Lord? These attributes don’t save you- Jesus does that, but there is a blessing in desiring and wanting to live for and honour God with all that we are…
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12)