October 11, 2011 by Chris French
What are some things that drive you? This would be something that you are always going after, this thing is the reason you do a lot of the things you do. What is that thing for you? Are you hungry and thirsty for appreciation, recognition, popularity or love? It may not be one of those four, but we’re all yearning for something. Take some time to figure out what this is for you. Maybe you need to make a list. Now start crossing off all the stuff that isn’t the main thing you hunger after. Ask yourself , “If I had this one thing would other people be able to look at me and know that I’m blessed?” Think about people who have what you want. Are they happy or is there a lot of malfunction in their lives? Jesus said there was only one thing that would make other people look at us and know that we were blessed. That one thing is righteousness.
When He says we should hunger and thirst for righteousness He’s using some very strong words. To hunger like He’s talking about it would be to be starving to death and to thirst would be to quite literally be dying of thirst. Just like food Jesus says this desire for righteousness needs to be a constant thing. I eat breakfast in the morning and by lunch I’m hungry again. I eat lunch and by dinner I’m hungry again. I can’t get filled up and stay that way! That’s exactly what He’s trying to get across when He says I need to hunger and thirst for righteousness. The people who want to be righteous, but don’t want it like they want food or water WILL NOT find it. This desire for righteousness has to be very deep.
If we want something that badly perhaps we should know exactly what it means. Righteousness means to be made right with God. That’s a pretty big definition. It means that I sacrifice myself and try to be holy with everything I’ve got, but it also means I yearn for justice in the world. Poverty, hunger and war tear me up, just as my personal sin does. Both these aspects together make up the definition for righteous. If you’re concerned about someone going hungry or being cold, but don’t care a thing about your soul or holiness you’ve missed the point. If you are very devout and Christlike in all your interactions and thoughts, but don’t help people who can’t help themselves you’re faith if useless (James 2.14-17, 1st John 4.16-18). Now, we can surround ourselves with a little bit of both of these aspects of righteousness here on Earth, but ultimately it only whets our appetite for Heaven when both of these will be complete righteousness. There is a sense in which we can be filled with righteousness right now, but it is fleeting. We’re waiting for the time when righteousness will be the norm, so again the promise is talking about Heaven.
Here’s something for you to think about. How do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? I think we do it spiritually the same way we do it physically. If I haven’t had anything to eat in a while I can be doing just about anything, but I keep getting distracted because I’m so hungry. My task could be the most interesting thing I’ve ever done, but all I can think about is my stomach. I’m meditating on my hunger! Find ways to fill your head with Scripture so you don’t have to be reading it to be thinking about it. Many of the psalms have been put to tunes so you could sing the song and dwell on the words at the same time. Hide Me Away, O Lord is from Psalm 32.7, As the Deer is from Psalm 42.1, Create in Me is from Psalm 51.10, I Will Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving is from Psalm 100.4, Thy Word is from Psalm 119.105 and Unto Thee O Lord is from Psalm 25.1-8 are a few examples of this.
Also, when I’m hungry I’ll find some way to satisfy my desire. If I’m driving and can’t find a restaurant I’ll stop at a gas station. If they don’t have a deli I’ll buy a candy bar. If they don’t have any candy I’ll find a rabbit to skin and eat. I’m going to find a way to satisfy my desire. Again the same is true for hungering and thirsting after righteousness. There are all kinds of tools out there that can help you toward your goal of righteousness. Pick up a one year Bible reading program, read our PLANTED13 blog, find someone who knows the Bible better than you and study with them, memorize sections of Scripture and think about them all day, make a difference in someone’s life, study with someone who doesn’t know Christ, use your talent to glorify God. Find a way!