Those Who Hunger and Thirst
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6
You know, eating healthy and living in a wholesome way of life takes an awful lot of effort. It’s not what our natural selves just long for. But we know it’s right and we do it. So when I look at our subject of hungering and thirsting for righteousness – you automatically know that it is a choice.
To keep my body functioning in its optimal capacity – I have to deny things I want (like ice cream) and accept things I don’t want (like vegetables). Very often in life doing the right thing is that which will cost you personally, but you choose to do it because it is right. Spiritually it is the same. Take the Christian discipline of fasting as an example. This is where, out of choice, you restrain yourself from a very normal practice (like eating or a habit of nature like eating) in order to fill that time or activity with a longing for Jesus. Your denying of what you normally practice puts you in a place of need, and fasting cultivates that need into strength as you seek the Lord!
Why think about this short phrase “hunger and thirst for righteousness” so much? Well – because unless you take a deeper look you don’t automatically realize that this is a “need” that is one out of choice. Those who mourn wouldn’t have chosen it, but those who thirst for righteousness make it a discipline.
“Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Matthew 2:18b-20
We are in that day fellow believer. It is the time when we long, when we choose eternal longing over earthly longing. When our lives are full of denying self so that we can one day be filled with the promised coming of our Bridegroom. But remember that just as fasting is a choice, so is longing for that which is righteous and good. It does not come naturally and the promise of being satisfied comes with the sacrifice of hungering for righteousness over our natural inclination.
But remember the promise, remember the goal. Take a look at Jesus’ disciples. They didn’t fast. There was no need to deny their longing because they were WITH Him! What a glimpse of hope for us! To remind us that when we are with Jesus, we will have the fullest of the full! There will be no more denial of self or lack any more. We WILL be satisfied. So friends – embrace the longing, the need for Him and the trial of sanctification. Because one day… one day we will no longer need to need. One day we will be satisfied. And until that day our hunger and thirst for righteousness will make us ready to look into His face and never look away.