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As we make our way through the beatitudes, which are really snapshots of what a Kingdom dweller looks like, we come now to the 4th. So far we have discussed: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This means to reaffirm your poverty-your need for God--to have a right evaluation of yourself before God-both the wickedness and the wonder parts. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." This means to reframe your weaknesses; it's mourning over whatever it is that keeps you from Jesus and the Kingdom lifestyle. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." This snapshot means renew your confidence-to develop a quiet, controlled strength that is not compelled to be reactionary.
What's interesting to me is that each of these first three snapshots speak of where you lack. After practicing these three disciplines, you are pretty much filleted. You are ready for anything that will fill you up. This is precisely what the 4th snapshot will do. Check it out. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." This brings us to SECRET #10: The follower of Jesus hungers and thirsts to walk the walk of the Master.
NOTE the strong terms here-hunger and thirst, not simply desiring something or making it a high priority. This is desperation-the kind of desperation that has a full understanding of its need for God, a desperate kind of mourning and an attitude of meekness. At this point of desperation you are ready for hungering and thirsting for righteousness-for anything that is right and pure and good.
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is a refocusing of your heart. To refocus your heart is to develop a passion for filling up the hole in your soul. Everybody is passionately seeking inner satisfaction. This fourth attitude or discipline is a kind of hungering and thirsting for what you want in your innermost being.
"Righteousness" is right living. It's walking consistently with God's standard. Jesus was the Righteous One Who walked most consistently with God's standard. In a very real sense, there is no other standard in the world. God's standard for living life is the only one you were created to follow. All other standards are not standards at all, but scattered attempts to live life without God. Many of these attempts are couched in what we know as RELIGION-religious systems of do's and don'ts to attain some level of approval by God-to reach some heavenly state and to avoid going to hell. Unfortunately, man's best attempts are like going to heaven on a six foot ladder. The problem with this method is that the ladder can only go up six feet.
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness has nothing to do with a religious system, whether Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or even Christian. All of these religious persuasions are cultural in nature and each one can find its meaning and highest desires in the person of Jesus. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness rests in a personal relationship with the Righteous One-Jesus, Himself. This sort of relationship is not a plan for avoiding hell, but it says "I've been to hell and don't want to return." It's a relationship with Jesus-walking with Jesus every day-JESUS PLUS NOTHING!
NOTE what happens if you hunger and thirst this way-"for they who hunger and thirst for the Righteous One will be satisfied." The term "satisfied" is used to describe the fattening up of cattle-to fill them up so that they have no more wants. Do you want to find satisfaction in your soul? Then you must practice hungering and thirsting for Jesus everyday! It's the only possible way to this kind of serenity and satisfaction. This is what I mean by refocusing your heart!
It's only when sensing your emptiness revealed within the first three snapshots that you have access to spiritual fullness. These are the quiet cravings-the hungering and thirsting-for spiritual things, for the inner satisfaction of your soul! When you hunger and thirst for something, then you want it and will do most anything to satisfy these desires. Hungering and thirsting is not simply making it a higher priority or something you feel you really ought to do, but to hunger and thirst as if this is a life-sustenance issue!
Refocus your heart! On every flight you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before helping those children alongside you. Part of the refocusing of your heart is just that-putting on your oxygen mask every day-talking to Jesus, listening to Him and seeking to please Him with your life throughout the day. Maybe you need to ask the simple question: "Jesus, what do you have for me to do today?" Believe me, that simple question will refocus your heart. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." The follower of Jesus hungers and thirsts to walk the walk of the Master.