Satisfied with Righteousness (Matthew 5:6)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6; all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible).

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Virtually all living organisms require some kind of food. Plants use their roots to draw nourishment from the soil and the process of photosynthesis to generate additional nutrition and energy. Animals eat plants, other animals, or a combination of the two. We need food to survive, we feel weak and become sick without it, and we have an innate craving for it. Newborn babies instinctively know how to draw milk from a mother’s breast before they figure out how to do anything else.

Humans are not only physical organisms. We have a spiritual side as well. Sincere followers of Jesus Christ, especially, are spiritual persons as well as biological beings. As such, we have an innate craving for “spiritual food.” Spiritual food produces righteousness in our lives.

“{L}ike newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (1 Peter 2:2).

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work’” (John 4:34).

One mark of a committed Christian is hunger—a craving—after righteousness. We want to live godly, holy lives. Although we know we are not saved by doing good deeds, we want to do what is right and help others. When we sin, we repent—we want to stop doing it. We are not satisfied living with bad habits, addictions, or character flaws. Although most of us struggle with something all of our lives, we want to be set free.

Jesus promises us that God will fulfill our craving for righteousness. We will be “satisfied.” The King James Bible says “they shall be filled.” Both words give us the same meaning. One can picture a person who has just enjoyed a sumptuous meal leaning back from the table, saying, “That was delicious. I’m so full I cannot eat another bite! So, what’s for dessert?”

The same should occur in our spiritual life. We can be filled until we think we cannot handle another ounce, even though we cannot wait for the next treat He has in store for us.

Jesus even went so far as to associate His sacrifice and the New Covenant with a meal. As He prepared to fulfill His mission as the sacrificial Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), he ate His last supper—a Passover seder, the holiest meal of the year on the Jewish calendar. For the Jews, this meal commemorated their release from bondage in Egypt. It signifies the essence of their covenant with God. Jesus chose that meal to institute a holy celebration observed by most churches: Eucharist, Communion, the Lord’s Supper, etc. Diverse congregations and denominations use different names. Some celebrate it every Sunday; some celebrate once per month; some celebrate sporadically. Some believe the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus; others believe He is spiritually present with the bread and wine; and others believe it is all symbolic. However, in each case, a unifying message comes through: Jesus’ body was broken like the bread when He was nailed to the cross; He shed His blood; and just as we partake of the bread and wine, we also partake of forgiveness through His death and experience His presence in our lives. While commemorating His death, resurrection, and ascension, we look forward to His return: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

For those of us who crave His righteousness, our longings will be fulfilled. We receive forgiveness of our sins by faith in Him. He will meet that desire immediately. He will give holiness and deliverance from sin to those who crave it and seek it from Him. Our spiritual cravings will be satisfied. Our souls will be well fed.

God, of thy goodness, give me Thyself; for Thou art enough for me, and I can ask for nothing less that can be full honor to Thee. And if I ask anything that is less, ever shall I be in want, for only in Thee have I all. Amen (Julian of Norwich, ca. 1343-1416).

What does it mean to you to hunger and thirst after righteousness? How do you fulfill this desire? Share your thoughts and comments in the box below this article.

Copyright © 2022 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.

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