FIFTH IN MY TEACHING SERIES ON THE BLESSED LIFE, BY TROY DOBBS
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”Matthew 5:6
Author Troy Dobbs asks the reader to ponder these questions:
- How do I know whether or not I really know Jesus Christ?
- Can I really know?
- Is it that important for me to know?
Assurance of salvation is indispensable to a blessed Christian experience. Every Christ-follower must settle this issue once and for all time. Prolonged uncertainty and uneasiness regarding your status with Christ may indicate that you don’t really know Him. The Holy Spirit maya be gently letting you know that you are still in need of a true relationship with Jesus. If that is the case, don’t fight it — submit to it. Surrender your life to Jesus by faith, confess your sins and trust in who Christ is and all that He has done.
Back To The Question
One answer to the question, “How can I know that I really know Jesus Christ? then, is this: your desires will change. What we hunger and thirst for says a lot about who we are and where we stand with Jesus Christ. Our cravings (what we want) lead to our choices (what we do), which in turn sets the trajectory of our lives (where we are going).
Americans are the best fed people on the planet. We are so used to not being hungry that our preoccupation is with losing weight rather than getting something to eat or drink. Some people spend more money on their attempts to lose weight than they do on buying healthy foods.
The audience Jesus was speaking to in the first century were not so blessed to just turn on the water or open the refrigerator. They were never too far from the reality of starvation and dehydration. In this parable Jesus is intentionally not painting a very comfortable picture. Starvation (“hunger”) and desperation (“thirst”) are never pretty terms.
What Is Righteousness
As followers of Christ, we need to know what He means by the term “righteousness.” For us to best understand this word, other scriptures help interpret it for us.
- Matthew 5:10. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.” When this beatitude is combined with the beatitude we’re examining today, it might read like this: “We are to hunger and thirst after a kind of righteous life that will cause some people to persecute us for our faith in Christ. Righteousness is a lifestyle that sets us apart as true Christians, but also invites opposition from the world.
- Matthew 5:20. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” In the first century, the Pharisees developed an elaborate religious system built around superficial, meticulous, moralistic, external performance standards. Jesus often challenged them to stop elevating their rules above God’s word. Righteousness in this context isn’t defined by what we do or don’t do. It comes from what Christ has done on the cross.
- Matthew 6:1. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Many Pharisees loved the limelight. Some would go so far as to sacrifice nearly anything to win the approval and applause of others. Their religion was built on the praise of men. It was form over substance for them. By contrast, Jesus says a true disciple (follower of Christ) seeks a righteousness that doesn’t need to be seen by others, but only by God.
True Godliness Lies Very Much In Desires
The Bible teaches that a genuine conversion to Christianity will be marked by a radical shift in desires. Jesus says to focus our energy and our life on our heavenly Father and His righteousness, and all the things we are worrying about will be added to us. Our desires will either point to our love for and allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ, or they will not.
Can you truthfully say, “I long to know Christ’s righteousness as a starving man longs for food and water?” The Bible teaches that this type of spiritual hunger will be the indicator of the reality of the new birth within a person.
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