In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded his disciples and others that a person who hungered and thirsted for righteousness would be blessed. The New Living Translation uses the word “justice” for the word “righteousness.” Let’s explore this verse from both meanings; keeping in mind this is just one way to look at it. I believe Jesus was pointing to the fact that when we choose to live moral lives–right by God’s standard–we are called blessed. In a world that calls everything right–anything goes–what does that really mean?
God is love and Jesus was sent into this world to be the Son of love. Christ told his disciples the greatest commandment was to wholly love God and others (Matt. 22:37-40). Righteousness is the love standard. When we lay our lives before God and say, “I want whatever You desire for my life” that is righteous love for the Most High. With that heart motive and act of obedience, we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness–what God has planned and purposed for us. Unfortunately, if what God desires for us doesn’t line up with what we want to do in a moment, righteousness gets slapped to the corner, doesn’t it? When we act to protect our way in spite of how it affects others, we are not submitting to the righteousness of God; we are not blessed or satisfied.
How about justice? Again, when we seek to take care of ourselves and “avoid” really caring for the welfare of others, we have resisted righteousness. How is it that we can feel good about ourselves, when others are run over by our actions? How is it that we can amass great wealth for ourselves, lay our heads on the pillow at night and sleep in peace knowing that others are going hungry at that very moment and we have done nothing to help? No righteousness there, either. There is always something God’s kids can do in his or her area of influence to release justice; even little offerings from a heart that hungers to do good is seen as righteous. God calls us to be the righteousness of Christ; because of Jesus we posses within us a gift of being and doing right. If we commit our lives to Christ, that righteousness will compel us to worship the God of love by doing the things we can do for others.
I guess the best way to hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice) is to simply get ourselves and our agendas off our minds and surrender to the will and purposes of a God who loves and knows us better than we know ourselves. A pure expression of love is supernatural. God has given us the ability to manifest this kind of love on earth; but it requires sacrifice. If you feel the love of God tugging at your heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness, today, simply choose to express a heart full of love by blessing others who need to experience and receive a touch that is out-of-this-world. The Spirit leads the Way.
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6).