Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matt 5:6 (KJV)
It amazes me when I see sports fans (short for fanatics, and appropriately worded)! They know everything there is to know about their favorite team: the names of the players, their positions, their stats, etc. Oh my! Are we as excited about growing in the Lord as these sports fans? I haven’t met too many Christians who are – they are far and few apart.
As I was reading today’s text, I couldn’t help but wonder what the Lord Jesus Christ was trying to teach His disciples. As you walk your path in life, you come into contact with people who are searching for spiritual fulfillment. Some go the way of various forms of Eastern religions, such as Hinduism (which is on the rise in many forms today), Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. Others seek out religions founded on Christianity but are works based. In other words, one has to contribute something in order to “be saved.” Christ’s work on the cross is just not enough.
But what was Christ referring to in today’s text? He did not say to seek after the ‘founder’ of a religion. He did not say to seek after someone who is smart or rich. In fact, the Lord said quite the opposite. He told us that we will be blessed if we hunger (seek) after righteousness.
Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines righteousness as:
Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.
Many claim to be righteous because they “do” most of what their religion requires. However, this is not what Noah defines as righteousness. Notice the purity of heart and rectitude of life – conforming the heart AND life to the divine law. The divine law is fulfilled in this:
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
This is where man’s religion fails. Religion produces “do gooders” but if one could see the heart, one would see sin. For all have sinned (Romans 3:23). So what must one do? First of all, one must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). People tend to leave out the repentance part, therefore, they do not “seek or thirst” after righteousness and their lives are no different than before they prayed their prayer. (2 Cor. 5:17) I hope that makes sense to you because it is such an important part of the Christian’s life.
Proverbs 19:15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
An idle soul will suffer spiritual hunger. The idle soul is busy with the day’s events and drama and does not care about seeking after righteousness. But to the Christian who desires to grow closer to the Lord Jesus on a daily basis, he desires to be filled. God’s word feeds us, convicts of our sin, and helps us to grow in His image. The more we are fed, the more we hunger for righteousness.
Luke 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.
You can’t fill a cup that is already full, right? Neither can a “religious” person be taught anything of spiritual value because his religion’s laws supersede God’s word. He is not seeking or hungering after righteousness but is “full” of man’s works. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the Jews. They considered themselves righteousness (already full) and did not wish to hear that they were not as righteous as they thought they were.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Are you fed today, Christian? Are you seeking, hungering, thirsting after righteousness? Do you hunger for it as much as you hunger for food? Are you conforming and rectifying your life to Christ’s divine law?
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The Lord Jesus has promises for those of us who hunger after His righteousness.
Revelation 7:15-17 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.