“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
I heard someone say once that the older they get the more that they think about the “hereafter.” By hereafter, he went on to say that as he goes into other rooms looking for something he forgets what he came for and wonders what “he is here after.”
Life is like that sometimes as we seem to be in search of what is truly significant. We have a longing for something and many times we are so restless. We try to fill these longings with things, experiences, accomplishments, and exploits but the longing remains.
The prophet Jeremiah described this problem well when he said we are trying to drink and be satisfied from broken cisterns or wells. In other words, from a source that will never satisfy. I love how C.S. Lewis spoke to this issue when he said:
“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."
As C.S. Lewis said, we were indeed made for another world and thus our priorities ought to be different. Our focus as believers should be first and foremost to seek the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus gave the secret of being satisfied in Matthew 5:6. What did He mean by this verse? First, I think we need to recognize that Jesus is directing us to a new priority. To “hunger and thirst after righteousness” conveys the same meaning found in Matthew 6:33. That verse declares: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.”
Can you imagine how our lives would change if we focused them around the idea of seeking God first? What would our days be like if we prioritized time with God each day before anything else? What would it be like if we sought God for what He would have us do with the decisions and directions of our lives?
The answer is found in Matthew 5:6. The last part of that verse tells us that we will be filled or satisfied. We will then begin to find what we are searching for!
Instead of pursuing all the things that this world can offer, we must recognize that the only way to find satisfaction in this life is to make Jesus Christ the #1 relationship of our lives and then pursue His agenda for our lives.
Many of you reading this today may be a little discouraged in your walk. My prayer is that God will use this verse to encourage each of us that He is the only answer to our hearts longings!
I would like to invite all our parents who have students that participate in the Performing Arts to attend a meeting on Tuesday, October 3rd at 7 p.m. in the Worship Center. Even if you do not have a student who is involved in this program yet, you are still invited to hear our exciting plans.
In this meeting, we will provide details about the future direction of our Performing Arts. We will give you a great look at how we will use our new building addition and our commitment to the Arts here at Metrolina.
We look forward to seeing you that night and we also look forward to seeing how God will use the Performing Arts Program at Metrolina for His glory in the years to come.
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9
We live in a world that unfortunately loves to see a good fight. If you do not believe me, look no further than a lot of what is shown on reality television. Worldwide Wrestling may have created the phrase “Are you ready to rumble” but our society has adopted a lot of that philosophy.
How do I know this to be true? I see it unfortunately in how people will treat each other in the market place as we fight for what we believe to be our rights. I see it in how people respond to each other on social media. Even in the Christian community, Christians all too often seek to bash others rather than seek peace.
However, God has called us as followers of His to a different standard. Matthew 5:9 teaches us that God blesses those who work for peace. So, what did Jesus mean by peacemaker in verse 9? A working definition of a peacemaker is a person who is actively seeking to reconcile people to God and to one another.
According to that definition, a peacemaker is not something you see as often as we should. It is quite the distinction, per Matthew 5:9. This verse describes two great benefits to being a peacemaker. Those two benefits are:
You will be happier - The word blesses or blessed in that verse means “happy.” God promises joy and contentment to those who work for peace. When you work to reconcile people with each other and God, you will find joy and peace when broken relationships come together. You will find joy unexplainable when you lead others to Christ.
You will discover who you really are - Verse 9 declares “that you will be called the children of God.” There is no greater joy than knowing you are a child of God and living as a child of God. Jesus described Himself in Isaiah as the “Prince of Peace.” Following Jesus completely means living our lives as peacemakers seeking to bring reconciliation to others and to God. That is the essence of who God designed us to be as His followers.
What about us? Are we peacemakers? When is the last time we helped reconcile someone to God? When is the last time we sought to make peace with someone we are upset with? A person can only work towards peace if he is at peace with himself.
I pray that we all find the peace that God has promised us and use that to become a peacemaker for God. May we begin to live by the words of Romans 12:18 which says: “If it be possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
A few years ago, I was driving through the mountains one night and I encountered a stretch of road where the conditions had turned terribly foggy. The fog was so thick that I had to slow down as I could only see a small portion of the road at a time. I struggled to see the road ahead and stay safe. I was anxious to see more clearly.
In a similar manner, many times we as Christians struggle to see where God wants to take us in our personal journey of life. Just like driving in fog, we are hard pressed to find our way as followers of Jesus. I am afraid that this process can become so intense that we too often default to the idea of just following our own desires rather than that of the Lord.
Matthew 5:8 gives us instead the inside information we need to see and experience God. The verse says that “God blesses those whose hearts are pure.” What does all this mean and how do you experience the truth of this verse? I want to give you some things that I believe are essential to having a pure heart and seeing God.
- Having a pure heart means we must begin to live a life that is pleasing to God.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22
God has commanded us as believers to live by His truth. If we are to please God, we must obey His Word. Psalm 119:9 declares: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word.” Are we devoted to His truth and living by that standard of truth? To see God more clearly, we must live by His Word!
Having a pure heart also means that we must begin to live for the sole purpose of God.
A pure heart is evidenced by the way we live.1 Peter 4:2 tells us that people devoted to God “won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” To see God more clearly, we must be focused on chasing God’s agenda for our lives rather than our own.
I do not know about you but I no longer want to struggle to find my way in this life. Instead, I want to learn to live out the true meaning of Matthew 5:8. All the things that this world has to offer pales in comparison to truly seeing and experiencing God. Paul described this best in Philippians 3:7-8 when he said: “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
“There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. 'Good pride' represents our dignity and self-respect. 'Bad pride' is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.” John C. Maxwell
When I look back at the history of our school, I am amazed at how God has blessed us and grown us in a short amount of time. If not careful, it would be easy to possibly get a little prideful at times thinking that we have arrived as a school. With that thought in mind, I have asked God to guard our hearts from any thoughts of this kind that represent the “bad pride” that John Maxwell mentions above.
We must always recognize that the only reason we have seen great things at MCA is because of God and not anything we did. MCA is a miracle of God’s grace and work. As a school, we did not deserve anything we have been blessed with but God in His rich grace and mercy has seen fit to bless us.
It is so important that we realize that the same principle holds true in our daily walk with God. I love the “Be Attitude” mentioned in Matthew 5:3.
“God blesses those who are humble and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
The truth of this verse is so powerful. It reminds us that “God blesses those who are humble and realize their need for Him.” How does He do that? To begin with, He saved us when we recognized the need for Him. Next, He sanctifies or grows us in our spiritual walk when we give Him total control of our lives. In addition, God provides us with the “abundant life” He promised in John 10:10 when we recognize our need for Him. Most importantly, one day God will provide as Matthew 5:3 says the “Kingdom of Heaven” as our forever home!
The danger of not recognizing our daily need for God and thinking we know it all is to miss the greatest blessings that God has planned for us. I pray that the truth of Matthew 5:3 will speak to your heart and remind us all of God’s great blessings. I leave you with the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that once again reiterate all that God has for us when we seek Him!
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9