Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! ~Matthew 5:6 (AMP)
Very few of us have truly suffered from hunger or thirst. Maybe that's why we have a difficult time understanding what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness. The original Greek actually is better translated "hungering" and "thirsting," implying an ongoing action.
First of all, we need to get a good grasp on righteousness, or uprightness and right standing with God. Our human attempts at righteousness are worthless and pathetic. The Bible clearly states that no one is righteous. That ought to be enough to make us hunger and thirst for righteousness! And Jesus said that unless a person's righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees they would not enter heaven. I'm sure that must've shocked the listeners, because these were the most righteous and holy folks around!
Maybe these verses will help explain righteousness a little more clearly:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ~2 Corinthians 5:21
So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” ~Galatians 3:6, Genesis 16:3, Romans 4:3
...and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— ~Philippians 3:9
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” ~Romans 1:17
When Christ took on our sin, He also imputed to us His righteousness. That thought never ceases to amaze me. In addition, our faith is credited to us as righteousness. How blessed we are to serve such a good God who provides for us what we can't manufacture on our own!
Only as we seek to live by faith can we truly hunger and thirst for righteousness. And honestly, when I start to feel a little stained from walking through this filthy world, I do hunger for something more and better. Like the psalmist, my song becomes:
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God? ~Psalm 42:1-2
Praise God! Only He can satisfy!
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the privilege of being Your child. Thank You that the weariness that comes with wandering through this world leads us to that place of hungering and thirsting for more of You. Thank You for being the Bread of Life and the Living Water that feeds our hunger and quenches our thirst. Thank You for taking our sin in exchange for Your righteousness. I confess that I don't understand that overly-generous transaction, but I'm humbly grateful for it all the same. Show me how to hunger and thirst for You even more. In Jesus' name, Amen.