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Hungry for More?

On Sunday, Pastor Erik started the conversation on Matthew 5:6-9, and we want to encourage you to keep thinking about and working it into your heart in your personal study, Growth Groups, as well as additional resources. Below is an excerpt from a blog post on Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." May its clarity and profound insight continue to impress Christ's teachings into your heart; and as Pastor Erik said, "Let us believe Jesus [today], that longing for and walking the righteous path God has laid out for His children will lead to our joy, satisfaction, filling, and contentment."

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Image by Aftab Uzzaman

Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

If we are to grasp our Lord’s meaning we must envision the worst imaginable condition of physical hunger and thirst, the sort we often see in third world countries. . . . Here Jesus says, “Blessed are those whose appetite and thirst for righteousness is as intense as that of starving children for food and water!” Are we as hungry for righteousness as they are for food? Are we willing to go to any lengths necessary to obtain it? Is there anything you are not willing to give up to get it? Do you feel in your heart the same depth of spiritual anguish, for lack of righteousness, that a starving child feels in his stomach, for lack of food and in his mouth for lack of water?

The pursuit of righteousness is not altogether a popular thing even among Christians:

“Many today are prepared to seek other things: spiritual maturity, real happiness, the Spirit’s power, effective witnessing skills. Other people chase from preacher to preacher and conference to conference seeking some vague ‘blessing’ from on high. They hunger for spiritual experience, they thirst for the consciousness of God. But how many hunger and thirst for righteousness?” (Carson, 21).

Jesus has in mind zeal for purity in conduct, in thought, in language, in action, in our feelings. He is talking about the person who yearns for the unholy to become holy, for the whole of life to be a reflection of the righteousness of God himself. [Be it noted, however, that not everyone thinks Jesus is referring to personal holiness. Hagner contends that the Greek word dikaiosune, translated “righteousness,” here means justice. “The poor, the grieving, and the downtrodden (i.e., those who have experienced injustice) are by definition those who long for God to act” (93). Perhaps both ideas are involved, as Spurgeon’s words would seem to indicate:

“With hunger and thirst he cries, ‘Lord, end the reign of sin! Lord, cast down idols! Lord, chase error from the earth! Lord, turn men from lust, and avarice, and cruelty, and drunkenness.’ He would live for righteousness, and die for righteousness: the zeal of it consumes him” (I:57).

As Stott put it, “it is not enough to mourn over past sin; we must also hunger for future righteousness” (46). Watson has suggested that to hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger for Christ alone:

“Hunger is satisfied with nothing but food. Bring a hungry man flowers, music; tell him pleasant stories; nothing will content him but food. . . . So a man that hungers and thirsts after righteousness says, ‘Give me Christ, or I die. Lord, what wilt thou give me seeing I go Christless? What though I have wealth, honor and esteem in the world? All is nothing without Christ. Show me the Lord and it will suffice me. Let me have Christ to clothe me, Christ to feed me, Christ to intercede for me. While the soul is Christless it is restless. Nothing but the water-springs of Christ’s blood can quench its thirst” (128).

How might we know if we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness?

  • Are you satisfied with yourself? The person who is pleased and content with his own righteousness will see little need for God’s. No matter how mature we may become, we should always be prepared to declare: I’m hungry for more.
  • Do you have an insatiable appetite for God’s Word? See Ps. 119:1-3,18-20,97-104,129-131,161-168.
  • Is your hunger and thirst unconditional? The rich young ruler wanted Christ and his possessions. Do we say, “I want Christ and my pride . . . and my immorality . . . and my cheating . . . and, and, and?”
  • The person who is truly hungry and thirsty for righteousness won’t eat between meals! He will do nothing to dull his appetite (such as eating the delicacies of the world).

The promise is that “they shall be satisfied.” See Ps. 107:9. But with what? Paul prays, “Now may the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). But surely Jesus means that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness it is with righteousness that we shall be filled. This is both present (John 4:146:35) and future (Eph. 5:25-271 John 3:1-3).

---- Copyright Sam Storms / Excerpt from SamStorms.com -----

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