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Jesus presents hunger as an attitude. It’s not the hunger that comes from a complaining stomach that He speaks of;  Jesus is referring to hunger for justice and righteousness. As believers, we possess a hunger for greater things than this world has to offer.

Luke 6:21 (NLT) God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied…

Hunger Is Normal

Victory in Japan came on August 15th, 1945, when Japan announced its surrender. By the end of the war, 27,465 American soldiers had been captured. Many died from starvation. One soldier, Lionel Bertheaud, was a prisoner for 44 months. He was 160 pounds when captured and weighed a mere 80 pounds when he was finally rescued.

We have a different problem today. In the late ’90s, not a single state had an obesity rate above 15%. Today, 69.2% of Americans over age 20 are overweight or obese. Why? Americans are starving for something.  But maybe it isn’t food that we hunger for. What if it is peace, contentment, acceptance, and security? We are hungry and we will always be hungry. Because what we need most deeply isn’t available through natural means.

What are We Supposed to Do With This? How can we use our hunger? How should it be a virtue? What makes it righteous? The hunger Jesus is referring to isn’t about food. It’s about your Father.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT) 13 “You are the salt of the earth…14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. …16 let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Learn To Shine

You ARE Salt and Light. The world is fading away. As soon as something good happens, it starts to go bad. Salt preserves. Salt stops the rottenness from setting in. Salt improves and makes food taste better.

The world is covered in darkness. People cannot see. Much is beyond their comprehension. You are light. You light the way. You reveal a better path. You are also an example. So, be the right example. Let your life demonstrate the way Jesus wants you to live. You don’t have to choose hate when attacked. You don’t have to choose greed when there is a need. You don’t have to seek attention for the things that you do.

You ARE Salt and Light. You are not trying to become Salt and Light. Your rebirth made you Salt and Light. It’s what you are. It’s your identity. So Jesus’ Kingdom teachings are yours. They are for the real you. 

What You Do… Jesus expected you to do things. Good things. Obvious things that others noticed. Not that we do things so others will notice. Rather, we are not to be ashamed of living, behaving, and making different choices.

Display the Goodness of God. As God’s free men and women, we have the honor of displaying His goodness. We get to show His kindness and His gentleness. Otherwise, how is the world to know that God is good? There aren’t many news broadcasts getting the word out. But that’s okay, because it’s our job. We GET to do it!

  • Have you ever been extremely hungry? Could you share the experience?
  • How is “hunger” an attitude? Discuss as a group.
  • How do we “preserve” and “shine” in our world? How do we do it without pride or judgment of others?

Matthew 5:19-20 (NLT) So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Love God’s Ways

God’s Purpose for the Law. There are a few reasons for the Law, but two are prominent to me. First, the Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The Law teaches us that there is something wrong with us. We are not able to do what is right through our own strength and effort. As soon as we apply our strength and effort, we corrupt it. The harder we try, the worse it gets.

Second, the Law exists to convict the guilty. And EVERYONE is guilty. The Law doesn’t just convict people we consider bad, it convicts ALL PEOPLE. There are no inherently GOOD people. All people are corrupted, messed up, and twisted by Adam’s sin in the Garden. We’re in trouble. Everyone is in trouble.

Our Focus Upon the Ways of God. The Bible reveals God’s Way. The Old Testament continually demonstrates God’s kindness and mercy. There was so much cause for justice and wrath. but the full measure of it never came because God is so good and merciful

A Better Righteousness. Those Pharisees really looked good. They had the money. They had the power. They looked very spiritual, but it was just a show. Under the surface, most of them were very evil. They used their religious authority to manipulate and take advantage.

It doesn’t matter how you look. Your money, appearance and your popularity have nothing to do with your righteousness. The healthy, wealthy, and popular are not God’s favorites. The poor and the hungry are. The ones who realize that the best things are not from here. Only God provides the best things.

  • How does God’s Law help us? How does it frustrate us?
  • How does the Bible teaches us God’s way of doing things? How do we see God’s goodness and mercy in the tough stories like the Flood and Sodom?
  • What is the difference between real righteousness and fake righteousness?

Matthew 7:17-20 (NLT) A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

You Are What You Eat

The Sheep and the Wolves.  Apparently, there are sheep and wolves. There certainly are a lot of people out hunting wolves. But sheep aren’t wolf hunters. Sheep follow the shepherd. Sheep enjoy where He leads them. Sheep enjoy the peace and safety of the shepherd’s care, even in the valley of the shadow of death. 

Good and Bad Fruit. The fruits are pretty simple. You can find them in Galatians 5:19-23. It shouldn’t take much to figure out which fruits you want in your life.

Will We Feast on Heaven’s Supply or Elsewhere? Are we hungry for heaven? It’s interesting that Jesus mentions an attitude of hunger and then teaches about fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). It seems that in order to make room for better things, we must release lesser things.

  • How do Galatians 5:19-23 help us identify the source of our behaviors?
  • Consider the 23rd Psalm. How are sheep different than wolves? What if unique about the way the sheep are cared for in the 23rd Psalm?