“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” Matthew 5:6.
Marathon participants and tired toddlers in Target run, but for different reasons. Runners in the true sense of the term run with a time goal and finish line in mind, while tired toddlers run usually because they are trying to get away from mom or dad. Not that that has ever happened to me. ahem. The fact is that running is a neutral action that can be healthy (sports and fitness), or not so healthy (like shoplifting). Running away from or running towards something, whether good or bad, for noble or ill purposes, is as an action itself, neutral. The runner’s intent, however, is not.
The Christian life is often compared to a race. The Apostle Paul described it as such (see 1 Corinthians 9:24 and 2 Timothy 4:7). It is important for us as believers to recognize that salvation is not only about what we are saved to: relationship with God through Christ and heaven, but also about what we were saved from: separation from God and hell. We are runners. The difference now is that instead of running away from God in our sin, we are now running towards God daily, becoming more like Him by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises that the believer will be satisfied as she hungers or thirsts for righteousness. The literal phrase in the Greek is “Blessed are the hungering ones” indicating that there is a constant pursuit and satisfaction with God for the maturing Christian. As the poor in spirit mourn over sinfulness, with meekness they will have a distaste for unrighteousness and instead hunger and thirst for a new filling of God’s righteousness. This is not a passive thing, but a very intentional and continual practice for the believer.
To hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness means that we will diligently learn about God’s character through His Word. We will will pray, repenting of sins and asking God to change us and make us more like Him. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will never be satisfied with where we are, but will long to know God more and grow deeper in our affections for Him. We will love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be burdened for the lost and will be earnest to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. We are then satisfied in all of this because we are being what a Christian is called to be- a “little Christ.” C.S. Lewis said, “Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
Are you satisfied in Jesus? Sometimes we are hungering and thirsting for the wrong things, which end up leaving us simply hungry and thirsty with no real satisfaction. Only Jesus satisfies. Take some time today to assess your cravings and ask the Lord if you need to redirect your pursuit. Confess sin, repent of it, stay committed in Christian community and accountability, feast on the Word, serve the Church and the needy. Begin here if you aren’t doing these things already. Ask the Lord to give you a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, and He will do it. An important note to end on is that God does not leave us to ourselves. He is here and He is here to stay. This should encourage us as we hunger and thirst for righteousness in an evil world. I leave you with this charge from Peter, the Apostle:
“3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:3-8.