“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6)
We live in a world where it isn’t very popular to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
What does that even mean?
Have you ever been hungry? Everyone understands the feeling of hunger, and the satisfaction of eating a good meal to satisfy that hunger.
Have you ever been thirsty? There is nothing quite like a cool drink of water after working in the heat. It refreshes you to continue in that work.
Just as our physical bodies desire food and drink to sustain life, so too does the spiritual body. Only it is very easy to ignore that spiritual need.
What is this righteousness of which we are to hunger and thirst?
Righteousness means “by implication innocent, holy; just, right; specifically (Christian) justification.” No one can be considered righteous on their own. See what the Bible teaches: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That verse is referring to Jesus who knew no sin. He became sin for me, taking my sin and the penalty of that sin from me. If I believe that, I am made righteous before God.
It is here that I would like to point out a warning that is found in God’s Word. “3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:3-4). No one can do it on their own. Jesus is the only way anyone can stand before God as righteous. This shows us that we must put our faith and trust in Jesus to make us “innocent, just, or right” before God.
But there is much more to it than that. After Jesus is in one’s heart, there is a continual hunger and thirst to become more like Him. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). And as you grow in your Christian walk you should also grow in your appetite. “13. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
Are you unskillful in your Christian walk, still needing the simple milk?
Or are you of full age, able to enjoy the meat of God’s Word?
Remember the verse with which we started: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).