June 22, 2018
Matthew 5:6… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Have you ever been truly hungry and thirsty? I have. I used to fast for extended periods of time and one of the values of fasting is experiencing hunger and thirst. Now, here is a disclaimer; I have never been truly hungry when I didn’t know where or when I would eat again. I am not comparing myself to truly hungry people. I fasted and made myself hungry. But, here is what I noticed; when I am hungry, nothing else matters as much as food. I enjoyed brushing my teeth because something in the toothpaste tasted good. Jesus describes that kind of passion for righteousness. Do you, do we, hunger and thirst for righteousness? Have you reached the place where nothing is more important to you? Jesus does not promise to satisfy the casual seeker…
When Jesus walked the earth, He was accosted by Pharisees who claimed to have righteousness. From those interactions, we learned a word… self-righteousness. Self righteousness is not the same thing as righteousness that comes from God. It is worse than a poor substitute; it is a deterrent. When you point to your actions and words as proof of your righteousness, you are often fine with it and confident in yourself. In that condition you are not hungry and thirsty for God’s righteousness. The Pharisees saw no need for more than they had. Don’t let that keep you from God. You might be the best person you know… but if you don’t have God’s righteousness alive in you; you are starving in His kingdom.
One day, in Spokane, I decided to eat candy all afternoon. I drove to Sees Candy and bought an assortment. I ate as much as I could handle, but in the end I was not satisfied. Why not? I needed sustenance… I needed protein. I probably filled my sweet tooth but all the others were still empty. That is how self righteousness works; it satisfies my need for self-gratification, but my need for righteousness is still there. I just need to recognize what I truly need.
We, humans, like gifts. We go to God for gifts. Yes, God is the giver of gifts; but he is also the source of every good gift. We need Him.