This is the 4th post in a series exploring the Beatitudes and the Salt and Light passage at the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5. Before we turn attention to today’s Beatitude, here are 4 interpretive principles that I discussed in the first two posts in this series.
1. First, the Beatitudes can only be produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In this sense, they are similar to the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) and the three cardinal virtues of the Christian faith—faith, hope, and love (see 1 Corinthians 13:13).
2. Second, although the Beatitudes emerge in the believer’s life as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work, the believer is still responsible for applying effort to cooperate with the Spirit in producing them. So the Beatitudes are not just a one-time thing, but a lifestyle, a way of living, an on-going work of the Spirit conforming the believer to the image of Christ.
3. Third, the Beatitudes reverse the values of the world and reveal the truest of true values: the values of the Kingdom of God.
4. Fourth, the Beatitudes are not stand alone principles or sayings, but must be read and interpreted in light of one another.
And now, on to our Beatitude for today!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” ~ Matthew 5:6, ESV
The first three beatitudes lead the disciple to examine herself as they prompt soul-level reflection. Through reflection, the disciple is brought to a place of desperation because of a deep awareness that she has not yet “arrived” in the spiritual life. Thus, the first three Beatitudes bring the disciple to a place of desperation (hungering and thirsting) for increased righteousness.
According to this Beatitude, righteousness is not an emptying of certain behaviors (sin management), but rather a filling of righteousness. If someone is physically hungry, she does not deprive herself of nourishment any more than she would deny herself a glass of water when she is dying of thirst. No. She will seek to fill herself with food and water to satisfy her physical desperation. In a similar way, Jesus’ disciple will fill be filled with the righteousness of Christ as she acknowledges her spiritual need and seeks to be filled by Him.
One mystery of discipleship is that Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to His disciples at the moment of their salvation, and yet they continue to hunger and thirst for His righteousness as they journey with Him. Just as one eats and drinks an evening dinner and awakens hungry and thirsty in the morning, so a disciple eats and drinks true spiritual food and hungers more for righteousness. The disciple needs the healthy, savory meal of Jesus’ righteousness every day.
Do you hunger? Do you thirst?
Are you hungry for the righteousness of Christ? Do you thirst for His righteousness? Here are some ways you can fill yourself on the good, savory, rich spiritual food and spiritual drink of Christ’s righteousness:
- Meditate on the cross of Christ. Consider the great cost at which He purchased your freedom.
- Read through a Gospel over the course of 2 or 3 weeks, then read through it again at the same pace. Spend time reflecting on Christ and His work on our behalf.
- Spend time reflecting the Gospel and the promise of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Praise God for His promises!
Take the next step (5 minutes)
- Take 5 minutes right now to consider your hunger and thirst for righteousness. Have you been consuming spiritual junk food instead of the good, savory, rich meal of Christ and His righteousness? Confess this to God and seek His filling today!
In this series
- Part 1: The Poor in Spirit
- Part 2: Those Who Mourn
- Part 3: The Meek
- Part 4: Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
- Part 5: The Merciful
- Part 6: The Pure in Heart
- Part 7: The Peacemakers
- Part 8: Those Who are Persecuted
- Part 9: The Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World
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