Sermon on the Mount | Righteousness: Part 1

We know that sometimes women crave specific foods when they are pregnant. For my wife, Holly, it was Chick-Fil-A, cheeseburgers, and sushi.

We joke about it, but the point I’m making here is that there are these moments in our lives in which only the right thing will truly satisfy, and there can be no substitute.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

Hunger is Human

All human beings possess an innate and inconsolable longing – that is, a hunger and thirst – for satisfaction. James Smith says, “It’s not a question of whether you long for some version of the kingdom but which version you long for. This is true for any human being; it is a structural feature of human creatureliness. You can’t not love.” 

And because we can’t not love, we give our lives to the pursuit of satisfaction.  Bigger boats, bigger houses, greater accomplishments, upgraded cell phones, spray tans, a more defined abdomen … but none of them, nor any possible combination of all of them, SATISFIES our hunger and our thirst.

We see this principle even in restaurant menus. Cheesecake Factory paralyzes; intentionality liberates. 

Truly … nothing satisfies.  

To which C. S. Lewis says, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Don’t Stop Hungering

Lewis doesn’t say that that which truly satisfies doesn’t exist. Nor does he say that the answer to the dilemma is to fight against your desire for satisfaction. Rather, he says that such a satisfaction does exist, but it exists in another kingdom … namely, the kingdom of heaven.

And this gets at the very crux of the text today. Christians are not people who fight to squelch their needs for satisfaction, but who redirect their need to that which truly satisfies; namely, righteousness. And if we will hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will be filled.

In his sermon on this text, John Wesley points out that hunger and thirst are the strongest of all our bodily appetites … and that hunger and thirst are only satisfied by food and drink. You can give a hungry and thirsty man all the best clothes and all the best attention and all the treasure on earth and all the honor … and he would still say, “These are not the things I want; give me food and drink, or else I die.”

The issue is not that we have longings for satisfaction. The issue is that we attempt to satisfy “hunger and thirst” with something that won’t satiate it. 

So what will satiate it?

We’ll look at this in our next post.

 

Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.