“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
This Beatitude speaks of desire, a passion inside the soul of believers with an ambition to obey, honour and glorify God by partaking of His righteousness. To enter the kingdom you must be poor in spirit. To enter the kingdom you must mourn over your sin. To enter the kingdom you must come in meekness. To enter the kingdom you must hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Just as food and water are necessities for our physical beings, so Christ is saying in this beatitude that you need His righteousness like you need food. Our spiritual life depends on righteousness.
Jesus declares that the deepest desire in every person ought to be, to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That is the Spirit – prompted desire that will lead a person to salvation and keep them faithful once the believer is in the kingdom of God.
The Necessity for Spiritual Hunger
Righteousness is not an option but a spiritual necessity. We can no more live spiritually without righteousness than we can live physically without food and water. A starving person has a single, all-consuming passion – food and water. Nothing else has any attraction or appeal; nothing else will get his attention.
Those who are without God’s righteousness are starving themselves of spiritual life. Seeking satisfaction only in God and in His provision is a mark of those who come into His kingdom. The Christians desire is that disobedience will be replaced with obedience. The person who has no hunger and thirst for righteousness has no part in God’s kingdom. To have God’s life indwelling through the new birth in Jesus Christ is to desire to be more like Jesus. The true believer desires to obey, even though he struggles with his unredeemed flesh.
Romans 14: 17 says “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.
The Object of Spiritual Hunger
When a person hungers and thirsts for righteousness he seeks salvation. In poverty of spirit he sees his sin; in mourning he laments and turns from his sin; in meekness he submits himself completely to the mercy of God; and in hunger and thirst he seeks God’s righteousness. When a person abandons all hope of saving himself, and begins to hunger for salvation from a righteous God, he will be blessed.
The object of hungering and thirsting for the believer is to grow in righteousness, that can only come from God through Christ. That growth in a believer is sanctification, which more than anything else is the mark of a true Christian. No believer whistle in this body can ever claim perfection. All Christians never stop hungering for more of God’s righteousness and holiness to be manifest in their daily living through obedience to God.
The Result of Spiritual Hunger
The result of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, is being satisfied. Jesus in this beatitude pronounced that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled or in other words completely satisfied. Sanctification in the believer is God’s work, our part is to obey; His is to satisfy. God will satisfy all those who seek and love Him. This theme is repeated in the Psalms.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).
“The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm23:1).
A Study from the Beatitudes
BY John Denman
Photo by Clifton Franks