God's Wonder Woman: Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Posted Mar 31 2009 11:49pm
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6 NIV).
This is the fourth in our series on the Beatitudes. In order to understand the promise of this beatitude, we need first define the term righteousness. At dictionary.com I found the word righteous defined as "morally upright; without guilt or sin; adhering to moral principles." For moral I found, "founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities." Synonyms for the word moral include upright, honest, straightforward, open, virtuous and honorable.
"Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The Lord is our righteousness' " (Jeremiah 23:5-6 RSV).
Becoming the righteousness of God, then, seems like a pretty tall order. Actually, it is a tall order! I don't know about you, but I struggle with any of these individual qualities listed, let alone living in a way that is all encompassing. Fortunately for us, "The Lord is our Righteousness." Christ is righteousness on our behalf--in our stead. God's grace made that provision for us over 2,000 years ago. Christ also serves as the example for us.
In his essay on the Beatitudes, Robert Wells shares,
Hunger and thirst are appetites that return frequently and they require that they be met often during the day. Similarly the true believer calls for constant meals of righteousness to do [her] daily Godly work, just as the living body calls for its daily food. When a believer hungers and thirsts after righteousness [s]he become a new [woman] and this new [woman] now bears the image of God. This new [woman] greatly desires to do the will of God for [s]he now has great interest in Christ and all that Christ said and promised.
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness means that we intentionally devote every aspect of lives and every molecule of our being to embrace, adopt, and ultimately become morally upright, without guilt or sin, upright, honest, straightforward, open, virtuous and honorable. Not only just strive for these qualities, but to be like Christ, to become righteousness. In other words, righteousness is a lifestyle in complete conformity to the will of God. It is the lifestyle Christ both finds pleasing and approves of.
"So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 RSV).
It would so easy to become discouraged or dismayed at the prospect of trying to achieve this state of being. I'm more prone to righteous indignation than I am to righteousness! But we have hope! Freegrace.net encourages us, "In the matter of justification Christ is all (Acts 13:38-2). His work, only his work, without any contribution whatsoever from us, makes us righteous in the sight of God. God looks upon all who believe as though the life which Christ lived had been lived by us, his believing people. God so perfectly imputes the righteousness of Christ to us that we are called by his very name (Jeremiah 33:15-16)."
As ambassadors for Christ we are to attempt to live righteously. Even though the world is far from moral, virtuous, honorable, upright and Christ-like, our faith tells us we can be all of those things. We are to reconcile ourselves to God by admitting, accepting, and acknowledging our sinfulness. In that way we allow the Holy spirit to enter us and aid us in our effort to live righteously. We all have a long way to go--some of us farther than others. We need not live without hope though, because Christ has already done the hard work to achieve perfection on our behalf.
Clearly grace is tied intricately and inseparably with righteousness! Therein lies our satisfaction. Through Christ we overcome the world. In Christ, we get the better of our human tendency toward sin. Because of Christ we are victorious in our struggle. In Christ we overpower evil with good.
Though each of us has the ability, through Christ, to live in the world without being overcome by it, too often we choose not to enter into the struggle between this world and the world God has prepared for us at the end of time. We feel too powerless, ineffectual, weak, and small to be victorious. That is because we forget to rely upon Jesus and His power, His strength, and His victory won for us on the Cross.
On our own we are powerless. When we turn the struggle over to Jesus, we solicit the help of a mighty force, capable of winning the battle for our souls. "I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 RSV).
You are God's Wonder Woman. My prayer is that you will make one small change in your life that moves you closer to true righteousness through Christ. And that you rejoice in God's grace, which is our true satisfaction.