“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
With each beatitude that makes up the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continues to prove that He is concerned with the position of our hearts. This week, we will be taking a look at the fourth beatitude, which says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Remember, Jesus is taking this opportunity to speak directly and solely to His 12 disciples and to prepare them for the time when He is no longer physically with them. Before we can fully understand the message that Jesus is trying to convey through this beatitude and how we can apply it to our own lives, we must first understand the language He uses in this statement.
Righteousness is typically defined as the quality of being morally right or justifiable. In a biblical sense, we can interpret the quality of righteousness as having the right or honorable relationships with those around us. These kinds of relationships include and are founded upon love and forgiveness, much like the relationships Jesus had throughout His life on earth. If we strive to replicate Jesus’ relationships, offering love and forgiveness, even to those who least deserve it, we will begin living righteously.
When studying the beatitudes, there are people who stress their sequence and argue that Jesus intentionally taught them in the order that they can be attained. For example, before we can mourn our sin and be comforted by the Lord (the second beatitude), we must first be poor in spirit and humble ourselves at the feet of God (the first beatitude). Regardless of whether the beatitudes must actually be attained in the same order as Jesus presents them, they do, undeniably, go hand in hand with one another. Desiring and striving for righteousness must be paired with meekness in our hearts and lives. As we learned in last week’s devotional, meekness is a form of humility that gently reminds us to not live selfishly, but to instead shape our lives around serving others. By accepting this beatitude, applying it to our lives and extending Christ’s love to others, will we also begin forming the right relationships with others and living righteously.
Jesus promises in this beatitude that if we strive for righteousness, we will be filled and satisfied. This is the distinguishing factor between Christianity and so many other religions. Jesus wants to know us, and He wants us to draw near to Him and seek His presence. He doesn’t want us to guess at what we think He wants or to seek affirmation from those around us. No, Jesus tells us that if we truly desire a right relationship with Him, then that is exactly what we will have. Blessed are those who hunger, thirst and desire for righteousness and pure relationships with God and others, for if they do, they will receive it!
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