[Jesus said,] “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.â€ Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:6 (The Message)
This is probably not a familiar translation for this passage. We are more familiar with words like â€œrighteousnessâ€. But righteousness is a characteristic that describes someone who has a great relationship with God. In Genesis 15, Abram believed what God told him and scripture says that God credited him with righteousness. God said, â€œYou and I, Abram, are on the same page!â€ In 2 Samuel 22, David sings a song to God and in verses 21-25 he talks about their relationship and how God rewards according to that relationship.
I laughed when I read Matthew 5:20 because Jesus says to the people that their righteousness must be better than their leaders and teachers otherwise they wonâ€™t enter heaven. Jesus shocks everyone there. The people who are reeling from their new elevated status as not being 3rd class citizens and the Pharisees who have just been slapped down that their relationship with God isnâ€™t enough! Now that is funny! But it is also a warning. Be careful that I do not get too full of myself instead of God!
Jesus says in this Beatitude that when I hunger and thirst, like a person in a desert or someone coming off a three-day fast, for more of a relationship with God â€“ I will have it! For every step toward God that I take, He will take two â€“ or three steps â€“ or four â€“ or â€¦ you get the idea. I can never outdo God. Think of the most thirsty you have ever been after hiking or playing basketball. Remember how hungry you are when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner at 2 p.m. after not eating all day? Have you ever felt that kind of hunger and thirst for God? The night I gave my commitment to Jesus. Iâ€™ve often said that there could have been a whole military division with automatic weapons and I still would have walked forward and fell to my knees that night. I was hungry and thirsty and nothing else in my life had ever filled that hole. Jesus did. Jesus does.
There was a time that I thought that the closer Jesus and I would grow in our relationship the less chance that something â€œbadâ€ would happen to me and those I love. Like my life is played out on a roulette table and the more I â€œplayed the gameâ€ the better percentage I would have to win. No, the closer I walk with Jesus the closer I walk with Jesus. We may walk through mine fields, rocky ground, and beautiful fields. When I walk with Jesus down all the different paths, I have Him to supply all that I need to go through with courage, wisdom, whatever I need. Difficult times are the greatest teaching times. They refine me.
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesnâ€™t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all…
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happeningâ€”itâ€™s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.Â Â Â Â Hebrews 12:7-8, 12 (NLT)
As my son once said to me, â€œMom, this isnâ€™t a sprint. Itâ€™s a marathon.â€ Heâ€™s right. My life with Jesus produces a harvest that is more than I can imagine but I am not going to see that harvest like a batch of instant potatoes. But the relationship will last forever. It will have no end.
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with Godâ€™s righteousness. Â Â Â 2 Peter 3:13 (NLT)