28th May 2011

Hungry And Thirsty

The fourth in the series on The Beatitudes 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled”
Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

This verse really would be a lot less challenging if it simply said, “Blessed are the righteous.” For one thing, it would be more in line with audience expectations—after all, everyone knew about those exemplary types who fasted twice a week and tithed on the very weeds in their gardens. Secondly, it wouldn’t require the gutting of all your innermost thought processes.

People make children memorise and recite Bible passages (or they used to). I remember when this sort of scripture seemed like a very tall order: how could you want to be good more than you wanted your food? It is possible to sit still and keep your elbows out of your sisters’ ribs during interminable sermons, but if you had to enjoy it… Momentarily I almost mourned my failure, but I wasn’t quite meek enough, and on the whole felt more inclined to persecute my eldest sister for her righteousness.

To live in a state of hunger and thirst for Godly purity of character and being, is entirely at odds with the natural paradigm of living a good life and hoping you reached the threshold; and it is equally at odds with the contemporary paradigm of individualistic redefinitions of right and wrong.

The phrase implies a high importance, even urgency, for obedience to God. At the same time, it reminds us of the insufficiency of our own righteousness, of the realisation that in this life we are always a work in progress, and of the need to look to Christ as “our righteousness” (I Corinthians 1:30). Virtue achievable by human will, elbows or no elbows, is never going to stand up, and we can only submit our wills to God whilst longing to see him as he is and to be like him.

And this reward, described within the Beatitudes, is that you will—to you heart’s content.

Father, I thank you for Jesus’ righteousness and pray for that fulfilment that he will share with all humanity.

Study by Fiona Jones 

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One Response to “28th May 2011”

  1. Ian Woodley on May 28th, 2011 7:40 am

    I have greatly appreciated Fiona’s articles on the Beatitudes. Fiona’s insight into God’s grace and righteousness has been an eye opener for me. Look forward to the next one in the series!

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