March 25, 2016
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
It’s fascinating the way the world around us works so hard to do two competing things. On the one hand, everything around us attempts to cultivate a voracious appetite within us for whatever the thing of the day happens to be—particularly when it comes to food. On the other hand, an entire industry has sprung up whose chief goal is to help us curb our appetites. The kingdom of the world knows two speeds: indulgence and avoidance. The Kingdom of God offers us a third way. I wouldn’t call it a middle way because the Kingdom of Heaven operates on a different plane than the kingdom of the world. The Kingdom Jesus is building subverts the ways of the world not by proposing some kind of moderation somewhere between indulgence and avoidance. Jesus is not interested in suppressing our appetites but in displacing them.
What if the greatest craving in our life was the craving for righteousness? What is righteousness? It gets a bad rap. It’s right up there with holiness in that regard. Too often I have thought of righteousness as an unreachable standard of impeccable behavior. Sure, there is a legalistic way of looking at righteousness, and then there’s the more excellent way. What if righteousness is actually the supernatural holy love of God expressed through and among ordinary human beings in the course of every day life? What if righteousness is the human flourishing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in our every day relationships? What if righteousness is the convergence of all of the fruit of the Spirit breaking forth in human community? This would be a different kind of community wouldn’t it? This would be a beautiful and even arresting kind of people wouldn’t it? This would be nothing short of the divine presence of God clothed in human flesh. Yes, that would be Jesus, and yes, Jesus is the way and the truth and the life—in us.
In fact, I wonder if this language of being “filled,” is not directly connected to the reality of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit. What if (and I recognize I am using a lot of “what-if’s” today), the Holy Spirit fills us in direct proportion to our actual appetite for righteousness? If I’m honest, I would have to admit that a lot of times my interest is simply to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It comes from a place of felt need, but this appetite is not necessarily coming from my hunger and thirst for righteousness.
So how hungry and thirsty am I for this kind of life—for righteousness? I’ll be thinking about that today, and tomorrow and probably the next day too. Join me. Come Holy Spirit and cultivate in us an appetite for righteousness that only you can fill.
1. How do you resonate with this notion of “righteousness” as I have described it above? Are you interested in becoming this kind of person and living in these kinds of relationships?
2. Is it a strong interest or aspiration or has it come to the gut level of hunger and thirst?
3. This is not easy. That’s why we have to begin with poverty of spirit and the mourning of brokenness and becoming a meek kind of person. Where are you in that process? How deep is your appetite for this kind of righteousness?
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.