Thursday, January 15, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 5)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
— Matthew 5:6 (NRSV)
Righteousness is not a very popular concept. It has overtones of self-righteousness about it. It has, therefore, in recent times, had a bad rap. It’s a word that represents God’s truth; it is something accurate and right on the mark.
If we are desperate for God’s truth we will most notice the lack of God’s truth in our faith lives. Such a cognisance for lack drives us toward God, to learn about righteousness, to apply what we learn, and not so much to notice the lack of righteousness in others’ lives – that would be self-righteousness.
Righteousness and self-righteousness would have to be polar opposites.
We could view these two as humility and pride. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are dedicated, including even losses to themselves, to truth. Given that honesty and humility are quite synonymous, righteousness is the result where humility is the method.
Being a ‘filled up soul’ is something that is personally valuable.
It should be something we all strive after. So, to strive after righteousness is to commit honestly to humility. To be filled is to ensure there is no other outcome.
It’s easy to see that if we hunger and thirst after something we will be filled because of it, because we will find it. Whatever we are passionate for we make time and effort for.
If it’s righteousness that we are most passionate about our lives will reflect a characterised sense of contented assuredness.
Being filled has that sense of being satisfied and contented.
Whatever we fill up on promises to satisfy us, but can everything we fill up on satisfy us? No, not everything can. It’s up to us to be discerning.
But to fill up on righteousness – to be honest, of integrity, and humble – means we will be filled by the power and grace of God.
Those endeavouring faithfully to live a righteous life live without fear.
Knowing right from wrong – and importantly, able to bridge the poles of righteousness and justice by actuality in their own lives – the righteous person is a blessing. They are filled and are able to be conduits for others’ filling.
What a great thing it is to worship God: to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
1.     Why on earth do we search everywhere else (and not God) in order to be filled and satisfied?
2.     Challenge yourself regarding the principle of righteousness and the principle of self-righteousness. How might you reframe the concept of righteousness as a to-be-sought-after character trait?
3.     Think about the links between righteousness and humility. Do you agree or disagree with the idea that “righteousness is the result where humility is the method.”
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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