Friday, 5 October 2012

Hunger and Thirst

Matthew 5:6
 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled."

This is the last of the Beatitudes which relates directly to our relationship with God. Blessed means under God's favour. It does not always mean physical blessing here, but God's favour is worth more then any blessing we could experience here and means eternal life with him in heaven.

Those who Hunger and Thirst. Those two attributes are not very common in the western world. We have so much available for us, but what Jesus is talking about here is an intense longing, forsaking everything else if you could only get this one thing. Like if you had not eaten and were about to die from it, or had not drunk water. That is how much we need to Love righteousness and seek after it. But first we need to realise that we need it. This again links back to the former beatitudes: If we are poor in spirit, then we see our need before God. Mourning is about Mourning over our sin. Meekness is an action which results from these two things, and hungering and thirsting for righteousness also stems from it. It is the opposite of self-righteousness, it is humility and realising that we cannot help ourselves. As a result of genuine faith and repentance we will seek to do good works. We will hunger and thirst for righteousness. We need to have an intense longing for it.

So, What is Righteousness? It is rightness in character before God and also rightness in actions before men. Obeying God's commands. Obviously, since we are all sinful we cannot make ourselves righteous before God. In fact, naturally we are the opposite - disobeying God continually. Yet we have hope: Jesus was righteous, he did not sin and he is God - so he did all that God requires. He died in our place, taking our sin and the punishment for it while we take his righteousness. We are forgiven for our sin and adopted as God's children! What a blessing! 

But while there is a once off side to righteousness, it is also part of 'sanctification' - we are continually becoming more like God, continually learning and growing and continually need to be hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This exhibits itself in our lives as good works and by fleeing from sin. So, are you living a life by which others will see God in you and be challenged by it? Are you striving to be righteous?