Today's Word of Encouragement

Starving for Satisfaction

Thursday, May 28, 2020

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

     I dare say few of us, if any, have ever suffered physical starvation. We may have felt like we were starving, but the physical reality of starvation is something few of us have known.
     We’ve all seen videos or photos of starving people. We’ve noted the pain and anguish it brings, and the great lengths people will go to relieve their hunger and thirst. It’s a horrible condition that grieves the spirit.
     A fourth paradox Jesus presents to us is the blessedness of hungering and thirsting. Hunger is more than a tinge of wanting food; it’s starving for food. Thirst is the same as hunger, but it’s more critical. You can starve for food for many days and live, but you can thirst for only a few days before you die. A starving person has an overwhelming desire for sustenance so much so it becomes the constant focus of his/her thoughts, time, energy and effort.
     Here the spiritual hungering and thirsting is for ‘righteousness’, which means ‘rightness’, to be just, to practice equity. Jesus, however, did not say those who hunger and thirst for doing righteousness are blessed. He said those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - for being righteous - are blessed. The Pharisees and Scribes spent their lives doing righteous deeds, but Jesus declared them to be unrighteous before God (Matthew 23:27-28; Luke 11:39).
     What does it mean to be righteous before God? It means to be holy; spiritually, mentally, and morally perfect. It is total and complete conformity to the letter and spirit of God’s law. It is Christlikeness (Romans 8:29), which is impossible for any and all of us.
     When the physical body is awakened to the sensation of physical hunger, we will do anything to satisfy the sensation. When the soul is awakened to the sensation of spiritual hunger, we will also try anythig to satisfy that need. Here the spiritual hunger is to be right with God. What can we do to satisfy that starvation? Nothing.
     Righteousness cannot be produced by us - it can only be produced in us. Yet Jesus said if we hunger and thirst for it, we will be ‘satisfied’, filled, saturated; entirely complete. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall have it completely. How so?
     The righteousness we long for is provided by Jesus Christ and is ‘imputed’ (plaited; interwoven; interpenetrated) in us (Romans 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Scripture tells us Jesus Christ is our righteousness (Isaiah 45:24; Jeremiah 23:6). Without Him no one is righteous.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6).
     “Thank You, Father, that though my sins are like scarlet, they have become white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they have become like wool through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord, that even though my own righteousness is rancid and rotting before You, You have clothed me in the righteousness of Jesus Christ so that I may be pleasing in Your sight.” Amen.

Pastor Martin

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