The fourth beatitude is: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) We might ask: “What is righteousness?” The better question would be: “Who is righteousness?” I Corinthians 1:30 says: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Jesus is our righteousness. If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, we must be hungering and thirsting for a right relationship with Jesus.
We must desire Jesus more than anything in life. Jesus does not want a second place to anything in our lives. Jesus must be more important to us even than food, shelter or clothing. Matthew 6:33 tells us: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Most Christians are seeking after blessedness. We should be seeking after righteousness and the result will be that we are blessed.
Food and water are necessities in the physical realm. Jesus and His righteousness are necessities in the spiritual realm. We must not confuse this. Food, water or material things in the physical realm will never satisfy our spiritual needs.
Our verse says we are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Our society in the United States has little concept of hunger. We believe in eating three meals a day with snacks in between. If you have fasted for twenty-four hours, you might have a small idea about what hunger is. If you have fasted for three days, you would have a better idea about what hunger is. To be truly hungry you are on a deliberate quest for food. You will not be deterred by any interruptions such as television, phone calls or conversations with friends. You are intent on nothing else but finding something to eat. This is what God wants from us in the spiritual sense. We are to be so hungry for God, for His presence, and for His Word that nothing will deter us from finding time to spend with Him.
If you are not hungry in the physical sense, there could be two reasons why you might not be hungry. The first reason might be that you just ate a meal and you are full, so you are no longer hungry. A second reason might be that you are sick and often we don’t feel like eating when we are sick. The same might be true in the spiritual sense. If we are not hungry spiritually, perhaps we have just finished a time of worship or Bible study. We have just spent time with the Lord and we feel spiritually satisfied for the moment. If we are not hungry in the spiritual sense, then perhaps we are sick spiritually. Perhaps we think we can live our life without God’s help. If an emergency comes along, then we will call on God for help. We must learn to see our spiritual lives like we see our physical lives. We need to be fed every day physically and spiritually.
We must have a desire to seek passionately after the Lord. Some may think that seeking after the Lord and His righteousness in today’s terms as “a real drag,” not much fun. The things of this world certainly seem to be more fun, but the fun of this world is fleeting. It last but a moment, and is often soon forgotten because we are seeking a new thrill or excitement. Seeking after righteousness, the right things of the Lord that please Him, brings long-lasting fulfillment. Consider these verses:
I Timothy 6:17 – “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, not to put their hope in wealth, which so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the L-RD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 107:9 – “for he (the L-RD) satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Notes from Dr. Adrian Rogers Taught by Dr. Susie Stiles