Sunday August 23, 2020 | Greg Boyd
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst righteousness, for they will be filled.
God created us with a homing device in our souls which causes us to hunger for LIFE that can only be filled through our connection with him. However, we too often fall into the trap of hungering and thirsting after idols that leave us empty and leave us restless.
We are born with a hungry soul at the core of our being. We long to feel loved, to feel significant, to have a purpose, to feel secure and to feel fully alive. We long for true LIFE. Ultimately only God can meet our soul’s deepest needs. As Augustine said,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Our soul was made by God and for God, and it is only in God that our soul can find its ultimate rest, fulfillment and satisfaction. God created us with this hunger to serve as a sort of homing device to lead us back to him, and we are spiritually healthy only to the degree that our homing device leads us to feast on God.
Unfortunately, we’re born into a fallen world that is filled with deception. Because of this, our homing device – our soul hunger – gets misdirected. As a result, we hunger and thirst for idols. Almost anything can become an idol: achievements, authority over others, ability to impress others, intelligence, or making money. We think that such things can make us feel fully alive.
While idols taste great in the moment, they never satisfy for very long, which is why the restless craving in our soul always returns sooner or later. Idols never ultimately satisfy because our souls were created by God and only God can fill them. Whether the person feels it or not, an idolatry diet will make you spiritually sick. As Proverbs 8:35-36 reads,
“For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord;
but those who miss me injure themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
If a soul ultimately hates and rejects God and his wisdom as their only source of LIFE, they are on the road to spiritual death. They’re heading toward death because this is the natural consequence of rejecting the God who is the source of all life.
With this in mind, we can better understand what Jesus is saying in the focus scripture. The word “righteousness” basically means “rightly related.” You are righteous to the degree that you’re rightly related to God, self, others, the earth and the animal kingdom. Only through faith in Jesus can we have a right-relationship with God and derive our soul satisfaction from God. And it is only that soul-nourishing relationship with God that has the power to free us from our idolatry and cultivate a right relationship with ourselves, with others, and with the earth and animal kingdom. This is confirmed in John 6:35; 53-37.
To feast on Jesus means that we ingest his love to make it part of our being, to let God’s love be the foundational source of our LIFE. This is what a right relationship with God looks like, and as we continually feast on God’s love, it frees us from idols and thereby empowers us to have a right relationship with ourselves, with others, and with the earth and animal kingdom.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to long for and chase after the LIFE that we can only find in the love of Christ.