Mathew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” True righteousness is not just about our acts, it is an inward reality. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who did many righteous acts because they were hypocrites with impure motives. They did it to gain the recognition of man and wanted to be considered pious. Their righteousness was indeed like filthy rags. True righteousness comes from Christ alone. We are made righteous through our faith in Jesus. We must stay in a place of pursuing that righteousness that only Christ can give.
Hunger and thirst provoke me to action. When I am hungry or thirsty, getting something to eat and drink becomes a primary concern. Everything else becomes secondary in my quest to satisfy that desire for food and drink. When I am hungry and thirsty for righteousness, I have a deep desire for the more of God. I don’t make excuses for why I can’t pursue the one who makes me righteous. My hunger for the more of Him creates a desperation that causes me to hurdle over the excuses so that I can sit at His feet. He fills me and at the same time leaves me longing for more. I want to remain in that place of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, how about you?
Mathew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Gentleness and humility are synonymous with meekness. The meek don’t insist on their own rights, they are willing to put the needs of others before their own. Contrary to what culture may teach, meekness is not weakness, it is strength under control. Jesus is the epitome of meekness. As Jesus was being arrested before His crucifixion, one of His disciples tried to retaliate by cutting off the High Priest servant’s ear. Jesus rebuked this disciple who was trying to defend Him. He reminded his disciple that he could have easily asked his father to send thousands of angels to protect Him in that moment (Mathew 26:53). But Jesus chose not to. Isaiah 53:7 tells us of Jesus’ response to suffering for sins He did not commit. It says, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Even though He was innocent and did not deserve to die, Jesus was focused on our need for salvation. He was submitted to the will of the father, even to the point of death. That’s strength under control.
Verses like these sure make me pause,
Because let me tell you, I can write a book on how to insist on your own rights, be prideful, and how to defend yourself when others do you wrong. I really can. However, the word of God shows me what I should be, and I am so grateful for grace that makes it possible! I am praying to be meek, how about you?
Mathew 5:4 reads, “blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” This mourning here refers to a deep remorse for sin, your sins and the sins of others. Mourners don’t try to tame or make excuses for their sins. They know that sin displeases God so in humility they bring it to Him with a desire for change. When I am grieving, comfort is something that I long for because it gives me hope. Jesus promises that those who mourn over their sins will be comforted. A part of that comfort is His forgiveness of sin. 1 John 1:9 lets us know that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When I stay in that place of being deeply grieved about sin, I also have the promise of eternal life. Revelation 21:4 reminds us that, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” What a sweet promise for an everlasting comfort for those who mourn.
It saddens me because we live in a day where sin is embraced and even celebrated. We have become masters at packaging and accepting the very thing that God detests. We are dancing in a time that we should be mourning. What would happen if we had more mourning over sin, would the power of God not manifest as He promised? Would we not see more captives being set free? God did promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that He would hear the prayers of the mourners and comfort them through forgiving their sins and healing their land. I think it is time we started mourning, don’t you agree?
Mathew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is a scripture that on the surface doesn’t seem too appealing. Who in their right mind would want to be poor? But that’s just it, in the kingdom of God, we must lose our mind and gain the mind of Christ. Poverty of spirit means to be fully aware of your need for God. In other words, the poor in spirit realize that without God, they are spiritually bankrupt. There is an utter dependence and desperation for God’s presence. The poor in spirit wears humility as a fragrance because they are fully aware that they are nothing without God. This is the total opposite of what the world tells us we should do and be. In this world, we are told that we can figure it out on our own, we are strong and smart enough. We are applauded for our independence and our ability to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. However, the poor in spirit shun this worldly mindset and without shame they cry out for the more of God.
This poverty that Jesus is referring to is one that leads you to a richness that money could never buy. Those who are poor in spirit has the kingdom of heaven as an inheritance, and that my friend is true prosperity. The kingdom of heaven refers to the reign and rule of God, both now and in the time to come. How powerful is that?! Jesus says that when I am poor in spirit and acknowledge my need for Him, I have access to this reign and rule…it’s my inheritance! This then gives me power over the enemy and guarantees me the victory EVERY SINGLE TIME, regardless of my circumstance.
In Mathew 4 Jesus was extremely hungry because He had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. The devil tried to take advantage of Jesus’ vulnerable state and tempted Him to turn stone into bread to satisfy His hunger. Jesus responds to the devil that man should not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mathew 4:4). Notice Jesus didn’t say we should live on SOME of the word but ALL of it! Many only want to feast on the feel-good parts of the word of God; quick to get the dessert and would rather skip over the meat and potatoes so to speak. Without hesitation, we gobble down scriptures that tell us that God is going to prosper us. We push off our plates the parts that admonishes us to bear good fruit and the warnings that follow. We want to feast on passages that tells us He will protect us from our enemies, but are hesitant to eat the parts that tells us about the consequences of our sin and the fact that followers of Christ will suffer. However, to be fully nourished spiritually, we must take heed to Jesus’ statement in Mathew 4:4 and EAT all the word!
The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 is one of my favorite bible stories. It reminds me of God’s ability to heal and the dangers of walking in pride! The passage opens by telling us that Naaman was favored by the King of Syria. He had a great position and great victories BUT he was a leper.
As the story of Naaman unfolds, we see that he not only had leprosy of the skin but leprosy of the heart. What on earth am I talking about? Naaman was angry when the Prophet Elisha didn’t come out to see him and by way of his servant, told him to go dip seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was furious because being a man with such authority, he was expecting a more honorable greeting followed by special instructions for His healing. He received neither!
Given the severity of his situation, I would think that Naaman would have immediately obeyed instead of protesting. After all, leprosy was fatal! However, the pride in His heart made Him forget about his desperate situation. Pride has a way of blinding us from what we really need. Pride can be a deliverance snatcher! Thankfully Naaman had a wise officer who encouraged him to take heed to the instruction given by the man of God and he was healed.
What is the BUT in your life, that exception, that thorn? In other words, what is the thing that is hanging over your head that seems to overshadow all the other great things that you have going on in your life? Sometimes God allows the outward “leprosy” in our life to highlight the most fatal leprosy of all…the one in our hearts. God knows how to present scenarios in our life that brings the ugliness in our hearts to the surface so that we can be healed, delivered, and freed from pride. Have you been protesting, or have you yielded to the process so that you can be healed of spiritual leprosy?