“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”
Jesus leads us on as He points us to a further change that He expects will take place – a hunger and thirst for righteousness. It should become characteristic of all God’s people because it is a longing of God Himself. We are not to look only into ourselves and regret what we see – we are also to notice the sin and its related horrors around us – the violence and abuse, the poverty and degradation, the stunted lives and spirits, the rejection and apathy towards God and the abuse and misuse of all He has made. It should drive us into prayer with an urgent longing for healing, change and justice.
Learning to see through the eyes and heart of God our desire will grow for the light of God to enter the lives of both victims and perpetrators. This can develop into an urgent need similar to that of a person aching for food and water – as Jesus did upon the cross. So strong may it become that we would exclaim, ‘that is totally unacceptable’ and do something.
Unlike the world with its ceaseless pursuit of power, possessions and pleasure, the Christian focus becomes that of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’ It includes living for the realisation of the prayer Jesus taught us – that God’s name be treasured and glorified, God’s kingdom be established and recognised and that God’s will be known and fulfilled, here on earth as it is already in heaven –starting with and in us. This is a righteousness of people’s relationship with God as well as a righteousness of their character and conduct before Him.
Clearly it is not enough for us to mourn over past sin – we must also hunger and thirst for future righteousness in both our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This will be revealed in an increasing desire to be free from sin, to be free from the power of sin and to be free from the very desire for sin. In fact it becomes a longing to be holy and as close as possible to the model and character of Jesus Himself, as we reveal the fruit of the Spirit in thought, word and deed.
The starting point as always is prayer. Firstly, that God would develop that hunger and thirst within us – seeing that is what He wants – and direct it towards particular situations wherever they may be. Secondly, for the people or situations concerned – and to persevere in prayer for as long as it takes. Thirdly, to ask God what He wants us to do, and in some cases just to do the obvious. It’s about caring enough to act – because God cares and He acted. Luther put it this way,
The command to you is not to crawl into a corner or into the desert, but to run out, if that is where you have been. And to offer your hands and feet and your whole body, and to wager everything you have and can do…….If you cannot make the world completely pious, then do what you can.’
And ‘they will be filled.’ This is the promise that our longings and strivings and prayers will not be in vain but will by God’s grace make a difference and become a blessing even to us as He works in and through us.
Do not be friends with, or luke-warm about, sin and evil and suffering.
Lord, please help me to live fully as Your child – and to begin to see and act as You did. Amen