Hunger and thirst for right standing with God.
Matthew 5:6, Luke 6:21, Luke 12:31
Some of these commands are taken from the Beatitudes which simply state that those who embody certain characteristics are Blessed. They are not laws that typically define a command, but like laws the Beatitudes illuminate the Mark, the target for the perfect life. To treat the Beatitudes as commands is to believe that we can regulate our selves even as laws aim to regulate us. To repent, to change our way of thinking is a command. To be Blessed is godly. To repent so we can be Blessed is a bulls-eye shot.
To strive for the kingdom is to hunger for righteousness, or right standing with God. This is where the autonomy of free-will is truly demonstrated. Our genetic dispositions are not free will, but something imposed upon us by nature; assigning ourselves to a religion and church-going may happen because of external pressures from family or society, but to hunger and thirst for right standing with God can only come from within a person’s own heart and mind and will. God knows that. How much do you really want to be Christ-like and immortal? Is it a casual desire, like getting a new car, or is it a hunger that forces a response?
Hunger and thirst scream for attention in the same way that illness does. They are loud! Spend a moment, especially a moment of extreme hunger or illness imagining an equally loud desire for the contentment of right standing with God. Fasting helps us to understand what it means to hunger for righteousness. As food and drink nourish the body, right standing with God nourishes the soul. Could a starving soul live for very long?
- Obey the commands.
- Repent – Change your way of thinking.
- Learn from Jesus Christ who is gentle and humble.
- Want to be righteous as Jesus Christ is righteous.