Once again, Gil and I find ourselves picking a prompt other than the NaBloPoMo suggested prompt for today. We wanted something we could both write to, and when I found this one, I knew it was the one. Tonight we are writing about which of the Beatitudes is the most meaningful us us and why?
The Beatitudes were declarations of blessedness Jesus delivered in His Sermon on the Mount. You can find all eight of them in Matthew 5:1-12. Each one begins with the phrase “Blessed are …” and these verses describe the ideal follower of Christ and his rewards, both present and future.
Although every one of them is meaningful, I think I would have to pick Matthew 5:6 as the one most special to me.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
I find myself looking up the definition for righteousness all the time. I’ll hear or read the word used and think that it is being used incorrectly. As a child growing up in church, my only reference to this word was when it was used to describe God, and for that reason, I get a little bent out of shape when I hear it used to describe people. My childlike brain cannot process any human being capable of righteousness. So, once again tonight, I find myself typing the word into a Google search bar. In it’s most simple form, it is defined as the quality of being morally right or justifiable. For this blog post, I’m going to use this simple definition to describe why this particular Beatitude speaks to me.
I still see this word through the eyes of that small Southern Baptist child who went to church and above all else, feared God and wanted to be a perfect child in His eyes. I remember thinking when I would do bad things that God was watching and seeing me. I remember that I was good because I didn’t want to get in trouble with God, and not just because I was seeking righteousness. It’s funny how the mind of a child works and how the mind of an adult remembers those childhood thoughts. I thirsted for His approval because I knew He was watching and I wanted Him to be pleased with me. What my childlike brain did not process was that by being good, I was actually striving for righteousness, striving to be more like God so I could spend eternity with Him.
As an adult, it’s easy to fall into this same pattern of thinking. We are taught that goodness is rewarded and bad behavior is punished. If we are good, we get a point. If we are bad, we lose a point. We get filled up or we get emptied out. It’s that simple, right?
As humans, we are sinners. We will never be all good. Because of this sin, we are separated from God and we will never achieve the righteousness of God. There is no good deed or kind act or religious sacrament we can perform that will bridge the gap sin has created. Our lack of righteousness will never allow us to be with The Righteous One. But, God is not scoreboarding our actions or our lack of actions.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
God wants to welcome humankind back into His good graces, so He sent His son to wipe away our sin. If we believe Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin, then we will have eternal life and the bridge between man and God is built.
Our desire, our thirst, for this righteousness is what God wants from us. It’s this hunger that causes us to have faith that the Good News of Jesus is true. If we didn’t desire to be like God, to be with God, then we would not need faith.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:1-5
If being righteous means to be justifiable, then this passage in Romans clearly tells us that we are justified by our faith. If we have faith, we can achieve righteousness. If we are truly seeking righteousness, then we are promised God’s love will pour into our hearts…our hearts will be filled. Matthew 5:12 describes the promise of the Beatitudes. It says “Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven…”
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved ~ Romans 10:13
God makes these promises to us over and over in the scriptures. Everyone who seeks, everyone who asks, and everyone who believes that Jesus is the bridge to carry us over our sin, will one day sit next to God in all of His righteous glory. If the promise of that isn’t enough to make you thirsty, I don’t know what is.