Blessed are Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Blessed are Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness [TRANSCRIPT]

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 says,
Therefore, let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

2 Timothy 2:22 says,
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Again in Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God.

In Psalm 34:7 we hear,
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Proverbs 10:24 says,
What the wicked fears will come upon him, But the desire of the righteous will be granted.

Proverbs 11:23
The desire of the righteous is only good,

In my experience I have noticed that not everyone has an appetite for God. An even among professing Christians, the desire to passionately pursue a diligent walk with God varies, sometimes even significantly.

Why is that? What does it tell us about a person? And why does it matter?
Let’s look at the next of the Beatitudes: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Before I get started, I wanted the thank everyone who has been watching Truth Matters. Thank you for sharing it with friends and please continue to do so. If you’re enjoying Truth Matters, be sure and click the Like button down below. Also subscribe and share it with others. Thank you again. – Well, enough of that.

Let me ask you, did you eat a meal yesterday? How about the day before? And the day before that? My, my aren’t you the hungry one. With all those meals, why is it that you still probably want to eat again today? I think the answer is obvious. As someone once said, “You can suppress an appetite but you can’t kill it. Another one will be right back.”

Jesus continues with the Beatitudes with the next in this sequential description of the character of those who are His followers. A person who comes to Him empty handed: Poor in Spirit; Mournful of their sin; and then humble as a member of the Kingdom. And now Jesus presents His follower as someone with a continuing appetite and thirst.

I want to begin by looking again at how this contrasts with what is natural, the natural inclinations that we see all around us.

You see, Jesus declares: There is happiness for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

On the other hand, the World says: Hunger and thirst after happiness.

The whole world wants to be happy. There’s an endless list of how to reach it, and possess it, maintain it. We have phrases like, “Do whatever it takes to make you happy.” The driving force, the main objective of life is to find happiness. It’s an insatiable drive. They hunger for it. They thirst for it.

But what human history testifies in what is called, The Law of Diminishing Return, neither fame, power, health or wealth satisfies. The greater the hunger the greater the disappointment.

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones said it plainly, “They will not find it, for whenever you put happiness ahead of righteousness, you will be doomed to misery.

This is equally true among some in religious circles. There’s a large numbers of people in the church who spend their whole lives seeking something that they’ll never find. They are hungering and thirsting happiness in the form of religious experience. They journey for instance from church to church, meeting to meeting to meeting, conference to conference, experience after experience, trying to satisfy what none of these will satisfy.

What is revealed in both of these is that the desire that exists within us is real. But the solution is not attained by simply soothing the pain of unhappiness. That would be like a doctor who simply medicates pain but really never attempts to treat the underlying cause. What is the cause for the pain, the angst the desire for happiness? Well, Jesus provides the answer.

You see, all along Jesus has been stating very plainly in these Beatitudes, happiness is not something you seek after directly. It is the result of having and continuing to have an ongoing relationship with Him. And this Beatitude is simply the next description in that relationship.

Jesus says that the happy, the Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

What does Righteousness mean? Well, basically, righteousness means “being right with God.”
In terms of salvation, Righteousness speaks to satisfying the Justice of God and thus being made right with God. This is accomplished by what Jesus did on the cross dying for our sins. The word for that is Justification – You hear the word justice? Justice has been satisfied by Christ on the cross.

Now, because here in the Beatitudes, He’s speaking about His followers, Righteousness, means “being right with God,” it’s looking at the ongoing work of being right with God. The word here then points to something which is called Sanctification. This speaks to a continuous work of God in the life of the believer to deal with our sin that still exists in our lives. You see, despite what the world may assume, believers aren’t perfect, they are merely forgiven. And the sin that is an internal issue with us that is constantly being dealt with, that’s what He’s talking about.

So then, what is this desire, this hunger and thirst for Righteousness that He’s speaking about?

Jesus is saying several things. He is saying that there is in His followers an ongoing:
Desire to get rid of Sin: Now that we are forgiven, we desire to deal with the sin in our lives, to get rid of it. You see, it bothers us to sin. Unlike before, now it’s a BIG Deal and we strive to continually deal with. It could speak to routines and actions in our lives that we try to face so that our fellowship with God is not hindered.

2 Timothy 2:22 I read it, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

This righteousness also speaks to our…
Desire to be free from the Power of Sin: There is a drive in us to seek God’s help to free me from the power sin that is has over us sometimes. I don’t want to do it. I’m not passive but daily involved in seeking God’s ability to free me from the power of sin has over me. This is applied diligence that moves into areas of exposure to things in my life. I can’t go there. And I can’t do this anymore. It’s not right.

It also speaks to how we desire to be…
Free from the very desire of sin: It is an inward work that attacks areas of our lives where sin pollutes our hearts. It’s seeing sin for what it is in its various forms, from the obvious to the subtle. I don’t want to act like that. I don’t want to think like that anymore. Lord, purge my wants.

It also involves….
Longing to be Holy: It’s living out what is found in the remaining portions of the sermon. I desire to live a righteous life, a holy life. Now, don’t let that word Holy scare you. Holy is not about the absence of something (I don’t do this, I don’t do that). No, it’s about the presence of something or really, Someone – God. God can’t be where a heart and life is not right.

Finally, it’s about the …
Desire to Know God: I want everything to be right between me and God. I don’t want anything getting in the way of this wonderful relationship that He’s provided. I know what it’s like to be right with God. And I can’t be satisfied with anything less.

Now, listening to these you might say, “Wow, this sounds like something for some super-spiritual types.” No. Jesus is speaking to believers, Jesus is saying that this is an element of the character of His followers and what they should have. This is not some moral standard for a select group. In fact, in connection with the remainder of the Beatitude, Jesus is saying that the blesse, the happy believer is the one who has a character quality, these desires.

This brings me to say a little bit more about Hunger and Thirst.

These are not passing feelings or desires. Hunger and thirst is unending desire that requires constant replenishing. I mean, you’re hungry today aren’t you? You’re thirsty? Remember Psalm 42:1As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God.

These desires speak of a desperate longing. It speaks of an eager longing that needs to be satisfied. This walk of faith has demands that need something beyond what a person can produce on their own. And the only satisfying source is God.

This brings up an obvious question: How’s your appetite? If it’s tested by what Jesus is saying, how does it stand up to the test?

Can you see through any false righteousness? You see, the lack of appetite reveals how empty any form of self-righteousness leaves us. When I lack this hunger there can be no sense of having arrived and being self-satisfied. The absence or presence of this appetite exposes any sense of false righteousness that you’re okay.

This appetite also says,
Avoid everything that is opposed to righteousness. I cannot attain righteousness with God on my own It’s only provided by God. But I certainly must avoid the things that are obviously opposed to it. I can’t hang around the gutter of life and have rightness with God.

This appetite also speaks to saying…,
Avoid things that tend to dull or take away the edge of my spiritual appetite. I mean, you remember? Your Mom said, “Don’t do that! It’ll spoil your appetite.” There are so many things like this. Some are even legitimate, seemingly harmless. Yet they may be the things which if I spend time on them, ruin my appetite for the right things.

This appetite also,
Reminds us of the Righteousness which we need. Day by day volunteer ourselves, we need to volunteer ourselves to be reminded. Find a way to look at it daily. Don’t say, “I’m too busy.” Everyone has a schedule. You haven’t arrived. You need it.

And then,
Put yourself in that path of going towards it. This includes daily disciplines of time with God, in His Word, in Prayer and in the community of the family of God. Each of these has deep and lasting value in the onward movement of our walk in being right with God.

Jesus says that where this is a continuing desire and is present, He promises to satisfy it.
But you might ask, “But if it’s continuous, (hunger/thirst) how can it be satisfied?

The longing in the heart of a believer is to be Right with God. And in this journey of desire and satisfaction, over time something begins to become apparent.

I’m not where I need to be, but I’m not where I used to be. You can look back and see the journey that He has taken you on.

Step by step His work of Sanctification is moving us closer. Along the way, chances are we’re going to slip up. The trick is to get up and press on. The relationship we have with God is one that will not be satisfied by anything less. If you ever stop, so does the joy of salvation. To do so is to fall into the dull and the heavy burden of desires that are willingly thwarted. The most unhappy soul is that of a believer who has parked onto a side track and ceased to follow the longing that once drove them.
 
Brother, Sister if you’ve ceased to be hungry and thirsty for rightness with God, come to Him. Confess your emptiness once again and allow Him to reignite the hunger and thirst that once burned in your soul.

The Psalmist remember writes in Psalm 34:7, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

And just to make is clear, Proverbs 11:23 says, “The desire of the righteous is only good,

There’s a place in every person’s soul which cannot be filled or satisfied by anything less than God Himself. We are created with this need and we are truly pained until we are right with Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

In the pain and emptiness of the unfilled life, this is a truth from God that will revolutionize a lost soul and it will reinvigorate the believer who has parked the very thing that they are made for.

Unless you prefer misery, this Truth Matters.

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