What Does It Mean to Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness? – Matthew 5:6

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt. 5:6). Blessed is another word for happy. Everyone is looking for happiness. People pursue all kinds of things they think will make them happy, but they do not satisfy. It is like eating your favorite meal. You enjoy it and say, “I’m full, I can’t eat another bite!” But in a few hours, you are in the pantry looking for something else to eat. Just like the food in your refrigerator does not last, so the things of this world do not bring lasting fulfillment. Only Jesus can bring you lasting happiness. In the beatitudes, He tells us how.

Appetite – Hunger comes from the Father

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst….” I love to eat. I was born hungry! Some people were born hangry, but that’s another story! Hunger and thirst are necessities for life. You can’t live without food and water. You have heard it said, “You are what you eat.” While that is true physically, it is also true spiritually. Just like we have a physical taste, we have spiritual taste. 1 Peter 2:2 talks about desiring the “milk of the Word.” Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Living Water. He alone can satisfy the longing of your heart. Jesus told the woman at the well that “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (Jn. 4:14). Hunger and thirst are signs of life and evidence of health. God gives us a desire for food and a desire to be filled. A dead person is not hungry.  A sick person loses their appetite. A lot of times we are not hungry because we have filled ourselves with the wrong stuff. What are you hungry for?

Attribute – Righteousness comes from Jesus

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness….” Righteousness is an attribute of God. It is right-ness or doing right. Righteousness should be our attribute as well, but Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” The good news is that on the cross, Jesus took all our sins and He imputed, or gave to us, His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). I have positional righteousness because I am in Christ and He is in me. My name is written in heaven and by it says, “Paid in full.” Righteousness is both positional and personal. We can live righteously, or we can live like the world. The Psalmist said, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3). So often we substitute righteousness for self-righteousness. Self-righteousness makes a list of rules. It’s the way the Pharisees lived (Mt. 5:20). Their righteousness was outward and external but was not genuine on the inside. They were great at pretending to be something they were not. The culture in this country will write you off, ridicule you, make fun of you, censor you, and call you every name imaginable if you have Christian convictions. We should look at every issue, every decision and ask, “What is the right thing to do?”

Abundance – Filling comes from the Holy Spirit

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” The same Spirit that filled the Temple lives inside of you (1 Cor. 6:19). God loves to fill the empty. The widow in 2 Kings 4 had lost everything but a little jar of oil. Elisha told her to collect all the jars she could, and the oil did not run out until all the jars were filled. With Jesus’ first miracle, He turned water to wine by asking for six empty water pots. He commanded them to be filled and the people said, “You saved the best until last!” God wants to fill our lives with what is best. The woman at the well came to Jesus with her life empty but He filled it. The multitudes were starving, and the disciples wanted to send them away, but Jesus fed them until they were filled, and they had leftovers!

Jesus told the story of a man who threw a banquet and invited people to come. He said, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Lk. 14:15). Just a few verses later we read, “But they all with one accord began to make excuses” (v.18). Their lives and schedules were too full, too busy for God. You can’t be filled until you are empty. God can’t fill you if you are already full. How can you be made righteous? Believe on the Lord Jesus. How can you be filled? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6:33).

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