Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled
There are many quotes about eating and drinking such as “one can not sleep well, think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well”. Another quote states you can’t expect to feel like a million bucks eating from the dollar menu” and last but not least “you are what you eat”. I believe these quotes all apply to this fourth Beatitude. In this particular section Jesus brings up something every Christian must strive for and that is righteousness. Righteousness is defined in Greek as the state of being just, especially in the eyes of God. It actually comes from the root word dikaios which means to be approved by God. Righteousness has a couple of important principles but I believe there is one principle that is extremely obvious and that is righteous people seek the approval of God above any and everything.
I also believe it is important to look at the term hungering. For most of us we think of hungering as the small void feeling you get when u haven’t had at food in an hour. However the hungering that we are talking about here is someone who starves for righteousness. It’s almost like the feeling of not eating for days and all you crave is a voluptuous meal. In our world today hunger is one of the last things we want to encounter or feel but according to Jesus we need to feel this way about righteousness.
To properly understand what Jesus is talking about when he says blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness we need to understand a couple aspects about Jesus. First and foremost he is the Bread of life (John 6:35) and he also is the Living Water (John 4:10).
Water we know is perhaps the most important substance on the earth. Without water life as we know it would cease to exist. Even mans blood is made up of mostly water. Water is known however as the ultimate thirst quencher. In life we there are so many things that we think we need. However mans innate need is one thing to have there sin forgiven and to stay in a forgiven state. No matter how strong we are no matter or think we are we the living water flowing from us. In (John 7:38-39) The scriptures tell us that whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will from within him by this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believe in him were later to receive. The Holy Spirit or God in us leads us into a life where we shall never thirst and be filled forever (Revelation 7:13-17).
One of the major problems when it comes to hungering and thirsting for righteousness is we often snack on other things and drink things that aren’t thirst quenchers from a spiritual perspective. Instead of choosing God who will fill us we often like to choose the things that satisfy us for the moment. A prime example of this can be found in (Luke 15:11-32). The prodigal son snacked on the world and never was truly satisfied however when he was starving he came back. Notice the prodigal son found himself hungering in verse 16 starving spiritually the snacks of the world were no longer good enough for him.
The prodigal son found himself at this point for a couple of reasons the first reason I believe he was at this point was because his self will and selfishness came before his desire to be in the fathers care. If someone doesn’t allow themselves to be in the fathers care they can never be filled by the father. In his self will and selfishness notice he starts making what I call self filling demands. The prodigal son at this point started to place himself on the road to starvation as oppose to being filled by God. The prodigal son found himself in a place many of us often find ourselves we have a desire to fill our self will instead of truly being filled and when he came to his senses he thought to himself how many of my fathers hired men have food and here I am starving to death. Just as the scriptures say in (James 1:14-15) each of us is tempted and by our own evil desires we are dragged away and enticed. When we are dragged away by our evil desires we separate ourselves from truly being filled and our thirst being quenched.
Another aspect I would like us to look at (Matthew 5:20) in this passage Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. What we can glimpse from this passage is righteousness starts in the heart as oppose to starting with deeds. I believe this insight is perfectly displayed in (Luke 11:39-42) when Jesus talks about the different things the Pharisees did and how they cleaned the outside of the cup instead of the inside. This passage highlights how God is concerned with the heart this of course is further stated in (1 Samuel 16:7). The heart is something that God knows and it is something that he looks into. Our God wants people who are after one thing his approval. One question I constantly ask myself is whose approval am I seeking first? Am I seeking the approval of man or God.
According to this passage we must hunger for righteousness and hungering for righteousness starts with hungering for God’s approval.