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Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness by Pastor Youngjae

posted Jun 29, 2014, 11:17 AM by Bowmansville UMC

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

(Matthew 5:6)


If your stomach is full would you like to seek something to eat?  If you are not thirsty would you seek something to drink?  No, you probably would not.  Your body needs to be empty or lack of water to seek something to eat or drink.

If you are filled with your own self-righteousness would you seek any other righteousness?  No, you may not.  In Luke 18 we can see someone who was filled with his own pride and who was mourning for his spiritual poverty.  A Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18: 10-12)  The tax collector would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

This is the question for all of us: Are you filled with your self-righteousness or are you hungry and thirsty for God’s righteousness?  People tend to assimilate these two, but in fact they conflict with each other.  Your self-righteousness pushes God’s righteousness away from you.  Self-righteousness is like junk food.  It fills your stomach and gives you a satisfaction.  As you consume it more often, it creates craving in your body so that you may consume it more, but it is not good for your body.

God’s righteousness is like a good food for your body.  You may not like it at the first bite, but as you consume it more often you may know that it promotes your health.  God’s righteousness is not from human actions but from the grace of God through Jesus Christ.  As our spirit consumes the Spirit of Jesus Christ we become righteous before God.  “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 3:21-24)

We are not righteous on our own account, but by believing in Jesus Christ who is righteous, we are recreated as righteous.  Abraham, Noah, and all other faithful ancestors were not without sins, but by believing in God and his promise they were credited as righteous.  “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:17)  This righteousness is not from self-confidence but from faith in Christ Jesus from first to last.  The righteous will live by faith.  Neither the smart nor the rich nor the religious, but the faithful in Jesus Christ is righteous before God.

Are you hungry or thirsty for such righteousness?  Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.   Lack of righteous men resulted in their destruction.  Jeremiah 5:1 says, "Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.”  God wants to see people who seek God’s righteousness.  Jesus says in Luke 18:8, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"  Do you live by faith?  Are you always seeking God’s righteousness?   If your answer is “yes,” Jesus promised that you will be filled.  You will be nourished and satisfied.  Your cup will overflow. Hear our Lord’s simple message: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”  Amen.