The Nazareth Trust

Healing in the name of Jesus since 1861
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Third Week of Lent

Third Week of Lent: Reflection on Contrition

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6

Lent is a time of fasting and prayer, a time to remember and prepare our hearts for the journey of Easter through suffering to resurrection. It is interesting to be in a time of fasting and also focussing on this verse of the Sermon on the Mount. If we fast we are likely to experience physical hunger and thirst – an experience that not only impacts the way we feel, but which gives rise to a desire and drives us towards action. I remember a few years ago when one of the first symptoms I experienced from the corona virus was one of thirst. I saw a colleague drinking a bottle of water and had an intense desire to have that water for myself, imagining how that cool water would feel in my dry throat. Of course, I followed this feeling with action and went to get myself something to drink quickly!

This verse describes a hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be morally correct and aligned with God’s will. In this challenging time, we might be thinking that the world in general or other people need this more than we do. Or perhaps our desire for righteousness has moved into more of a desire for our own will to be done. This verse speaks of an intense desire, a desire for righteousness, that is personal and leads us to action. A desire to become something better, to act in order to be filled in a way that only God can supply.

We all make mistakes. We all get frustrated with ourselves at times, whether we like to admit it or not. We might ask ourselves why we react the way we do, why we said what we said, why our thoughts are not always what we want, why our actions so often disappoint us. It is always easier to criticise those around us, but this verse speaks to an inner attitude, of seeking to set myself right first, to pursue righteousness, humbly acknowledging that I am not there yet and taking the action needed to change that.

So how can we move forward? Our appetites for food and water are essential, we all need these things in order to live. To hunger and thirst for righteousness reflects a similarly fundamental need in our spiritual lives, and in this passage, we learn that if we have this intense desire, God is willing and able to fill us. As we look at a hurting world, and as we look at ourselves, we can become overwhelmed with our desire for something better. Let us act by bringing ourselves to the Lord, seeking His righteousness, seeking His intervention, both in us and through us to the world. He promises that we will be filled. As we fast this season, let each feeling of hunger or thirst call us to action, taking us into the presence of the One who can fulfil all our needs and give us His righteousness.