Message of the Beatitudes – Four – Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6

We are told that we are what we eat.  What we take into our bodies and digest, becomes part of us.  What we consume could be healthy or unhealthy.  If I took an inventory of my daily intake of food, most nutritionists would chide me because I consume large quantities of pasta, bowls of candy, container after container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (seriously addicted to Edy’s)  and pots of coffee.  I KNOW the effects of this type of diet.  Sometimes I forget that food from the refrigerator and soda from a can are not the only ways to satisfy my hunger and quench my thirst. 

But Jesus asks us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  That means that God will fill our desires for righteousness.   But we may not see that we are starving and suffering from thirst spiritually.  And if we become those things that we take in, then what happens when we eat the junk food of violence, erotica, materialism, greed, and drunkenness?  As you think, so you are.  The things we think, we seem to become. Our spirit is looking for sustenance from God’s righteousness, but we tend to force our spirits to go on a crash diet while we fulfill the other needs our physical body demands.

In Jesus’ Beatitudes, we go from poor in spirit to those that mourn to those that are meek.  I see a pattern in the Beatitudes and a deliberate sequence.   We must first empty ourselves of self and acknowledge our need for God.  We must mourn our sinfulness and the sinfulness and tragedies of our world.  We must submit ourselves and humble ourselves to God and to others in order to even begin to have the hunger pains for God’s righteousness.  Perhaps only after experiencing the first three beatitudes do we start to hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. 

The body and the soul have natural appetites.  The soul depends on its nourishment, health and strength from God alone.  When we empty ourselves to God and mourn our sinful state and we submit our egos and pride to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, our natural tendency is then to seek God’s righteousness.  Our soul is awakened, it begins to hunger and thirst for holiness, knowing it must be purified by the Holy Spirit.  But when our spirit is awakened, and we feel the tendency to know more about our Lord, how do we respond?

David sought God, Psalm 63:1 “O God, thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water”.

Only Christ can fill the ache in our souls. Sometimes God allows a crisis to awaken in us a deeper need for His presence and His active work in our lives.  When a crisis takes place for a believer, our souls may yearn even more to be with Him and for His righteousness.  But we always need Jesus.  A passion for His presence becomes part of our transformation into His righteousness.  Being righteous in Christ is having the righteousness of God within us, and being filled by Him.  It isn’t about physical gratification and prideful self-fulfillment, it’s about emptying ourselves of our self-righteousness.

Is the presence of God and the pursuit of His will in our lives the most extreme of all our desires?  Does it matter more to us than the food and drink of the physical body?  Christ’s righteousness is so good that the more of Him we taste, the more of Him we will want.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!  Can we become addicted to Christ more than to diet soda?  Yes!

How’s your spiritual appetite?  Are you seeking the same things the world seeks to satisfy your soul or are you seeking the Living Water and the Bread of Life?

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”

Message of the Beatitudes – Two – Mourn

Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted

     What comes to your mind when you think of mourning?  To mourn or lament is to express passionate grief from the soul.  How many of us have ever grieved so hard that we couldn’t speak, we couldn’t function, we couldn’t think straight?  Our tears were like rivers overflowing, and we were inconsolable.  Think of this as your soul mourning.  But is there anything that we should mourn? 

  • We should mourn our sins because they have hurt others and grieved God
  • We should mourn those who are out of relationship with God
  • We should mourn the unrepentant
  • We should mourn our poor spiritual condition

After our first beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit” where we admitted our need for God and denied self, we must now ask God to cleanse our souls of all unrighteousness.   In Romans 8:26-27 “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s to deep for words; and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

In mourning, we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us.  It is in this grief process, that we allow God to take the hurt, sin and renew our poor spiritual condition, forgive us, and allow us to forgive others and at the same time, to restore our souls to what God intended us to be. 

As we age, we naturally tend to become more jaded, hard-hearted, and less compassionate.  We tend to have a “what-ever” attitude.  It takes a lot for us to grieve others’ misfortunes.  We tend to think; if only they made better choices, pulled up their bootstraps, worked a little harder…etc.  We lose sight of the most telling attributes of Christ: His love and His compassion. 

So this means mourning all those who may not be in the right spirit with God.  So as not to sound judgmental, let me tell you about my grandfather.  Many years ago, in my Baptist life, I must have brought the subject of Jesus up with my grandfather one too many times.  Finally, he had had enough of the debates, and he informed me that he was an atheist and if he came from dust, then to the dust he’d go back.  He had no desire to determine if there was a God or even if there was an afterlife.  And then he told me that if I brought the subject up again, he would have nothing more to do with me.  I was stunned.  I was hurt.  I was so very sad.  My soul grieved for my grandfather’s soul, and I prayed for years that he would have a change of heart. 

When we don’t truly grieve our poor souls and the poor souls of others, we are not emulating Christ.  Jesus gave voice to the anguish in His soul.  He grieved over Jerusalem, He grieved somewhat His imminent death, He grieved abandonment, and He grieved those who persecuted Him.  He was in prayer with the Father always for Himself and for others.  Receive the blessing of being comforted by having God who cleanses our souls of all unrighteousness and who grieves the souls of others.

One of the most comforting verses I know comes from Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken”.

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