“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”
As we grow spiritually in the Lord, He must do away with our old nature as He develops in us a new one with these Christ-like characteristics. As the first three are formed in us, we are gradually emptied of our old sinful nature. Only then will we desire to be filled with God’s righteousness, and the Lord will develop that desire into a hunger and thirst.
Righteousness is simply right living before God. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold…In keep them there is much reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).
Note that Jesus did not say to hunger and thirst after happiness or blessings. These come as a result of seeking righteousness. To hunger and thirst is to have the consciousness of a deep and desperate need, to the point that we experience pain in our soul. This brings suffering and agony, because it is an all-out drive to achieve the desired goal. It is somewhat like being away from home and homesick, or the inner drive people have to be a sports champion.
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is the defining spiritual trait of our Christianity. If we truly desire righteousness, God’s Spirit will transform us into His image. We cannot obtain it by our own efforts. Attempting to do so will only lead to pride, which has been the downfall of many throughout the history of Christianity.
Jesus promised that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled. This comes through the anointing power of the Holy Spirit. If one is emptied of a self-seeking nature and filled with God’s nature, the next three characteristics given by Jesus-merciful, pure in heart and peacemaker— will flow naturally as we come down the mountain to minister for His Kingdom rather than for selfish reasons.
Stay connected to the blog for our upcoming post on spiritual characteristic number five, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)