“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”- Matthew 5:6
I feel like I probably talk about the upside-down Kingdom way too often in these blogs, but the truth is every time I reflect on the Kingdom of God, I realize it truly is upside-down compared to this world. The greatest become the least, faith is having evidence that is not permissible in a court room (it’s invisible), the first become the last… the list can literally go on and on. This verse contains two truths that are completely upside down: hunger and thirst, and righteousness. Allow me to explain.
First, let’s tackle the hunger and thirst topic. In this world, the way to get hungry or thirsty is to deprive ourselves of food and water, or to eat something that has been enhanced… If you go without eating for 3 days, you will without a doubt be hungry. If you don’t drink any water for a day, you will be thirsty and your body will show you how dehydrated you are. Also, if you eat or drink something salty, you will become thirsty. If you eat the plain, white bread that is the cheapest in a store, you will become hungry faster than if you eat the whole grain, expensive breads.
When I was in Armenia a few months ago, I ate less and was far less hungry because everything I ate there was not enhanced by our American systems (plus it tasted so much better there). So a lot of things can make us hungry and thirsty in this world. But in the Kingdom of God, the upside-down Kingdom, only one thing makes us hungry and
thirsty: Him. The more time we spend with God, the more we want Him. The more time we read our Word, the more we want to read our Word. The more time we spend evangelizing, the more we want to evangelize. Why? Because He is just that good. The more we experience His goodness, the more we want of His goodness.
But this verse doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty in the Kingdom…” It says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness…” Here, the point still applies. The more we hunger and thirst for righteousness, the better we will be because we find out how amazing He really is. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all the things you are worrying about will be taken care of. So what is Righteousness? Why is it good to seek for it?
When God healed my body, I found out He was better than I thought. It made me want more of Him. I became obsessed with spending time with Him, as well as telling everyone I meet just how amazing He really is. I can’t count the number of people I have sat down with and told them of the beauty of His goodness, but as I type this out, I can see many of their faces. Having those conversations has been amazing, but spending time with Him has been even more amazing. One of the first things God did after my healing was to teach me about His righteousness. For example, He led me to Romans 10 and 2 Corinthians 5. The first passage tells us that people were zealous for God, but they didn’t know Him and so they pursued the wrong thing: their own righteousness through the Law. That is a huge key
for us to realize. Trying to gain righteousness from your own behavior is no what God wants. The next verse tells us that Christ is the end of the law, so that righteousness is given to anyone who believes and knows God. Anyone who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame, but instead are exalted and justified by God. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us that God no longer counts our sins against us, but instead became our sin so that we could be His righteousness. So God became sin, and transformed us (who know God) from sinners into righteousness.
Therefore, when Jesus instructed us to not worry anymore about anything, and to instead simply seek His righteousness, He was telling us to get to know Him and to believe in the work He did on the cross. And blessed are those who hunger and thirst for that righteousness, because they will be filled with His righteousness.
This leads to the second upside-down truth found in Matthew 5:6- righteousness. See, righteousness isn’t found by our own efforts. We can’t obtain it. We cannot purchase it, earn it, steal it, or fabricate it. The righteousness of God is given by God. Righteousness doesn’t come by your ability to obey the Laws of Moses, or your ability to control yourself. That was the wrong type of righteousness which Paul wrote about in Romans 10 (technically he wrote about it throughout all of his letter to the church of Rome, as well as the churches in Galatia).
When we think our righteousness has anything to do with our behavior or sinlessness (good luck with that, by the way) we are actually making two mistakes: 1) we are proving we don’t know God, 2) we are denying what Jesus did on the cross. Knowing God is what He wants from us. Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) And just for the sake of redundancy, Romans 10:2 says, “For I can testify about them (Jews) that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge, since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God…” Secondly, if we cannot add to what Jesus did for us on the cross. Either it was enough, or it wasn’t. There are many people out there that believe we are still in the process of attaining righteousness through a process called sanctification. I understand that line of thinking, but it is wrong. We aren’t attaining righteousness from sanctification. That is what the Jews believe they are doing (according to Romans 10:2). We attain righteousness from believing Jesus is the Messiah and because we know God. Romans 3:21-24 says, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all have been freely justified by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Those who hunger and thirst for this truth, can’t get enough of it. At the same time, all the searching and constant desires of the flesh that we deal with subside in this truth. Like Jesus said, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Bless you
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