Whenever I visit a new city or town, one of my main goals is to find the best possible food in the area. Our vacation schedules tend to revolve around what the plan is for our next meal. I was just up north in Charlevoix with some friends this summer and we were literally waiting to pay our bill at breakfast, and already making our lunch and dinner plans. I love finding the best burger in the area as well. I once found myself in downtown Cleveland with one of our Pastors and a couple of friends walking down a sketchy alley, to go down into a dark hallway, to go into the dustiest dingiest hole in the wall burger joint I have ever been to all on the hunt for the best burger. As literal condensation dripped from the ceiling onto our shoulders, let me tell you, the burger was amazing.
So you may ask, “Why am I going on and on about food in this lesson?” It is because I take my teaching cues from Jesus, the greatest teacher ever. He consistently used food, hunger, and thirst as an illustration for our lives.
Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
When I think of the phrase “hunger and thirst,” I think of someone who is intensely seeking something to eat. This person is not just trying to find a quick snack, this is someone who is in desperate need of some sustenance and they are willing to go to incredible lengths to achieve that. I think believers too often in our walk with Christ are sadly content to just “snack on” the things of the Lord, instead of truly having a hunger and a thirst for them. I think the world generally is okay with people being “sort of” Christians. We commonly hear phrases like: “Oh yeah, I go to church sometimes” or “Yeah, I believe there is a God.” However, when we take what Jesus said and actually hunger and thirst for the things of Christ, that is completely radical in the eyes of the world. If as a believer all you are doing is “snacking” on the things of Christ, you are going to be in trouble when times of famine come.
Matthew 7:24-27 adds, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
At the time of writing this, we are in month eight of the COVID pandemic, and it has been so heartbreaking to see how this difficult time has clearly separated believers who have built their foundation on the rock, and those who have built it on the sand. Or another way of saying that could be those who hunger and thirst for Christ or those who are content to just snack. We all know and understand that difficult times are going to come in our life, and how we are able to survive those times is solely based on the depth of our relationship with Christ. If your confidence in Christ immediately crumbles when difficulties come, I would challenge you to deepen your relationship with Him and strengthen your foundation on the Rock that is Jesus.
Again, Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
So now that we have the general concept that we should have a hunger and thirst for the things of Christ down, we should look specifically at righteousness. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word righteousness as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.” Through Scripture, Jesus has given us commands on how we are to live our lives. He lays out what is morally right, and He calls us to hunger and thirst to follow those things in our lives.
We know that even as we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we are still going to fall short at times. This is why Jesus had to die for our sins. He knew we had no chance of upholding His commandments, but that does not give us the liberty to just do whatever we want. As believers, we have this tension in our lives of knowing that the Lord has forgiven all of our sins, but He still calls us to righteousness. Paul explores this idea in Romans chapter 6.
Romans 6:1-2 records, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
You may answer with a resounding no to the question above, but maybe your actions tell a different story of how you think God’s love operates. Our love for Christ, and what He did to save us, should compel us to desire to live righteously. We should have a longing to follow God’s law and be righteous. It is not because it makes God love us more, He already loves us more than we could ever fathom. We should desire to follow His commands because it is the least we can offer to Him in response to what He has done for us.
When we “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus tells us that we will be satisfied. There are so many things that this world tells us to seek out and desire for our satisfaction, which ultimately just leave us feeling more empty than before. When we seek after being righteous, we will find ourselves no longer hungry for what the world has to offer, but filled and overflowing with satisfaction in the things of Christ Jesus. Pray that the Lord would put a desire in your heart to live righteously, and you will find yourself satisfied.