The Blessings of Hunger and Thirst

October 10, 2014

The Blessings of Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

We need to keep in mind that the beatitudes speak of characteristics that should be found in Christians.  They may be found in some unbelievers, but we have every right to expect that they will manifest themselves in those who profess to be in the family of God.

In this article the words “justice” and “righteousness” are used interchangeably.  They basically mean the same thing.

When a teen ager says to his father, “But dad, that isn’t fair,” a wise father will say, “You’re right, it isn’t, but we will have to accept it anyhow.” There are many things in life that are unjust.  Wars, for example, are caused by unrighteousness.  Young men are drafted into the Army.  It may be that they don’t want to go, but they have no choice.  They may even be killed in the war.  In a war, innocent civilians are often killed.  That certainly isn’t just.

Criminal acts are unrighteous.  They show a lack of respect for the rights of others.  The criminal says, “I’ll get what I want, even if I have to kill someone to get it.” We also suffer because of corruption.  Many people get rich by taking advantage of others.  Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Before we go to vote we should be informed about which candidates give indication that they hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness solves a lot of problems.  If we want others to treat us right we need to treat them right.  In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  We can’t honestly say that we hunger and thirst for righteousness unless we are willing to be righteous in all our dealings with others.

Hunger and thirst are needs that must be met.  What do we hunger and thirst for?  We need to have control over our appetites.  When it comes to food and drink, some try to satisfy their desires with that which isn’t good for them.  If we aren’t careful, the same can happen with our spiritual appetites.    Some hunger for the praise of men; others for material things.  Some live to be entertained.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to desire to be free from the power of sin.  Some say, “If it wasn’t for temptations it wouldn’t be so hard to have victory over sin.” That is true, but the dead are the only ones who aren’t tempted.  As long as we are in this body we will have to struggle with temptation.  Jesus said in Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The best solution to victory over temptation is to yield to the will of God.  If we do, we will want what God wants.  The more we love God, the more we want to please him.  God is righteous.  Sometimes we may not think so.  Sometimes he sends things our way that make us think he is unjust.  It isn’t wise to argue with God.  What he sends our way is always for our good, even though we may not understand the reason for it at the time.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If you run with the wrong crowd you will find it difficult to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  You will hunger and thirst for what they run after.  You need to choose friends who will set a good example and encourage you to do right.  If you are at an arts and crafts show you may not think about being hungry while you enjoy looking at all there is to see.  If you happen to go by a stand where they are cooking hamburgers or hot dogs, you suddenly sense a hunger when you smell that good food.  That’s why it’s easier to maintain a hunger and thirst for righteousness if you stay in the proper environment.

It is normal to have hunger and thirst.  If we don’t have it, it’s an indication that we are sick.  It’s an awful feeling when people are hungry or thirsty and have no means of meeting their need.  The promise of Matthew 5:6 is that we shall be filled if we hunger and thirst for righteousness.  God knows what is good for us and he delights in giving it to us if we really want it.  Even if we hunger and thirst for something good, like righteousness, we may not always get all we want when we want it.  Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”

A healthy hunger and thirst for righteousness is an ongoing thing.  After we eat a good meal and drink a big glass of water, we aren’t hungry and thirsty any more.  Before very long, however, hunger and thirst are back knocking on our door.  It should be the same way with hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Righteousness isn’t something we consume, like food.  We should have an ongoing hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Included in the Greek word “filled,” in Matthew 5:6, is the idea of satisfaction.  Many of the things this world gives don’t satisfy very long.  In one way, we never get enough of what God has to offer us.  Righteousness should be something we want in all our relationships.

My friend, are you blessed with a hunger and thirst for righteousness?  If not, you need to look for the reason for it.  Could it be that you are running with the wrong crowd?  Could it be that you have wandered away from God?  Could it be that you aren’t a child of God because you have never received Christ as your Savior?  John 1:12 says “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

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