hat if a believer's hunger and thirst for God's righteousness was so strong that it compelled them to live it out in every area of their life? The answer to this question is not only possible, but today’s post will show you how to get there.
What Are You Hungry For?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6)
Hunger and thirst (or food and water) are strong words when you think about what they mean. A hunger and thirst implies a strong desire and a need that must be met. It suggests that we don't merely hope or wish to have something, but rather we feel the need to have it in order to survive.
What we are starving for is to live a life that glorifies God (Psalms 63). To live a life where everything we do points to Him. Where our walk with God becomes the reason others want to know Him. Where our lives become an example of what it means to truly love Him. In short, we desire a life of God and His righteousness!
We won't find this by doing things on our own strength or by living as if Jesus were not alive within us (Galatians 2:20). But when we come to the place where we realize we need Him more than anything else, He will fill us with His presence (Ephesians 3:19-20; John 8:31-32).
What Does Hungering for God Mean?
Hungering for God means longing to experience a close relationship with Him. It means being unsatisfied with anything less than His best. It means desiring more of Him and wanting to be more like Him. When you long to see His face and live in a place where we no longer groan inwardly, you are experiencing the blessings of being one who hungers and thirst for God.
Righteousness comes from the Greek word "dikaiosune" which means "justice, fairness, honesty, integrity." These words imply the moral quality of actions that reflects God's character. The meaning of the word righteousness is much bigger than I originally thought.
The Bible, in the fourth beatitude of the sermon on the mount, tells us to be hungry and thirsty for God's righteousness. Our personal relationship with God changes our perspective about everything. When we're hungry for more of Him, we notice what He is like and how He wants us to live every moment of our lives. In other words, we notice what is righteous in His eyes.
We often view righteousness as being religious or spiritual, but it is actually a part of living every day with God's character in mind. From a human perspective, my daily activities tend to be self-centered or focused on the needs of others rather than on doing what God wants me to do. This way of thinking leads me away from doing what is right in God's eyes.
Hunger for Right Relationship with God
We live in a world that is constantly seeking happiness. We want to fill the void that is deep inside of us with pleasure, success, and material wealth. But true fulfillment and contentment comes only from God. How do we know this? Because He says so! "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Author Philip Yancey points out in his book What's So Amazing About Grace?, "Hungering for God does not necessarily mean getting your fill…He is more likely to satisfy you by making you hungry again."
Philip’s point is well taken. Ultimately, our desires aren't met by stuff—they're met through the right standing with a living God (Matthew 6:31–33; John 15:7).
When we hunger and thirst, we desire something. What do we desire when we hunger and thirst for righteousness? To answer this question, let's look back to the opening verse. Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Our desire for righteousness is part of what makes us blessed in Christ.
Truly being blessed means there is enough to satisfy us. In other words, our desires are met by God's righteousness rather than by stuff that can be taken away or destroyed. This means there must be an abundance of God's satisfaction and joy available because God is righteous, and his righteousness satisfies!
Overflowing with God's abundance creates joy in our lives (see Matthew 5:12). Because of his righteousness we have a relationship with him (see John 1:12) and he will never leave us nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). We can always count on him (see Matthew 6:30). In short, when we have a hunger and thirst for his right standing in th kingdom of God,our lives are dramatically changed by his blessings.
The Blessing of Righteousness
The Bible verse above, Matthew 5:6, is an important one. God wants us to be blessed but only if we hunger and thirst for righteousness. In other words, we need to be hungry for God, hungry for His Word and ready to listen and obey it. The more we hunger and thirst for God, the more He will give us of Himself. And He will bless us abundantly—if we ask Him to.
The Bible teaches that we are blessed when we are righteous—when our hearts and minds are aligned with God's ways. But this is a choice we have to make each day. Just because I have accepted Christ as my Savior doesn't mean that I automatically walk in His righteousness all the time. My heart has to be right with God each day if I am going to walk in His blessing.
Righteousness is a state of being or having right standing before God because of faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:6). When our hearts are right before God and when we are acknowledging that through our actions, then we are walking in righteousness and can be blessed by God. We also have to follow the living Word of God—the Bible—which is full of instructions on how to live righteously (Hebrews 4:12).
Live by Faith
Through the Holy Spirit, by faith we accept the gift of righteousness from Jesus at Calvary and then strive to enter into that righteousness through a daily walk with God in obedience to His Word. This is the only way to be blessed, for "every one who does righteousness is born of Him" (1 John 2:29).
When Jesus Christ, pronouncing a blessing, said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6), he knew that such hunger and thirst could only come by faith. How can we hunger and thirst for something that we have already received? Only through faith. In this passage, Jesus was teaching us that it is impossible to be blessed by doing things to obtain righteousness. The blessing comes only through accepting what Christ did for us on the cross. Today, live in the righteousness God has provided for you through Jesus by living your life through faith in the Word of God. By this, the kingdom of heaven will work in and through you to bring about the good news of the gospel.