When I was younger I used to eat like I had a hollow leg. If I would have died they would have put, “When do we eat?” on my tombstone! There are a lot of things that we hunger and thirst for….success, fame, popularity, possessions, power, and pleasure. It doesn’t end there does it? The funny thing is that in all these things, we often feel that we will find a deep satisfaction if we attain them. This is actually only a half truth. The fuller reality lies in what Jesus promises we should hunger and thirst for……righteousness. If we are blessed with these things (success, fame, popularity, etc.) as a result of applying the wisdom of God to our lives (obeying His laws) then we just may find some true and lasting satisfaction.
“Hold on!” you say. Yes, there is more. We never find true satisfaction and fulfillment simply as a result of these things. It is by the love of Christ, the application of His wisdom and the saving Grace of our Father that we are filled. Again, a truth of Jesus “Upside Down”.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 (TNIV)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Look at what is desired— “righteousness.” What is righteousness? Righteousness is living in accordance with moral standards, doing what is right. Righteousness is not a superficial appearance of “goodness”. It’s not a high opinion of us held by ourselves and others. Righteousness IS the fulfillment of God’s law, indeed the wisdom of Jesus, in our lives. And Jesus says that we should hunger and thirst for it!
What Jesus is saying is, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst to do what is right–to live moral lives” and there is strength in doing what’s right over the easy temptation of doing wrong.
This is an attitude towards God. When we “hunger and thirst”, we seek out and ask God, we “hunger and thirst” for doing what is right. And this word (in Greek, “righteousness” is “dikaiosune” [dik-ah-yos-oo-nay]) means more than just “doing” what is right, it means “right thinking”…it’s more than just an action, it’s a way of thinking…..and the fruit of that thinking is doing what is right.
When we “hunger and thirst” for what is right, we apply the wisdom imparted to us in Scripture, in God’s Word. We become doers of the Word, not just listeners. We apply the lessons of life that God has shared with us: Lessons of humility, compassion, empathy, morality, love patience and on and on.
It’s interesting, a friend mentioned a Scripture some time ago, James 1:21-27, and in it we see this Beatitude sumed up:
James 1:21-22 (TNIV)
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Psalms 42:1-2 (TNIV)
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…
Look at the result of that desire for righteousness —“they will be filled”. And what does this mean? The Greek word translated here as “filled” is “chortazo” [khor-tad-zo] It conveys a meaning of being satisfied. To be fed and full–to be filled.
Isn’t that what we want in life? When we do what is right, when we live in accordance with moral standards, Jesus promises that we will be full–fed and full–we will be satisfied! This is contrary to what the world tells us. The world tells us to pursue happiness at any cost. Jesus tells us to “hunger and thirst” for doing what is right, and again, the result will be that we will receive that happiness, that fulfillment–we will be satisfied!
So…..when do we eat?