The kind of surpassing righteousness Jesus prescribes involves a daily dying to everything for which our lower selves clamor. The life he invites us into involves lugging around a heavy piece of timber designed for nothing short of execution of that lower self. Fortunately this execution is routinely followed by resurrection!
Many Christians want to make some improvements in some select areas. This usually amounts to something more like a wish than a hunger. Jesus prescribes an all consuming craving for more than a series of minor adjustments but a serious incremental transformation until our person and purpose more closely resemble his.
Others are hungrier for blessedness than righteousness. They waste their hunger pangs on paltry pursuits like economic abundance, possession of power, or advance in social class. But the pursuit of blessing for its own sake yields neither blessedness nor righteousness.
How can he fill us if we’re already full of ourselves, saturated with our accomplishments, and glutted with our possessions? Though we may claim to be hungry for righteousness, the reality is we have little stomach for what it requires to be like Jesus.
“Take a taste,” says David, “and see for yourself that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.