Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” ESV

Everyone’s heart desire is to be happy, we hunger for it. Some satisfy this hunger by controlling others… degrees… financial success… having a “good” family… or looks. Some try to use God to be happy. They don’t love God, they try to use him as a butler… but God won’t be used.

Those who attempt to use religion (God) to be happy will: 1) Be legalistic and judgmental, 2) Not have the fruit of the Spirit {Gal 5:22. Love, joy, peace, patience…}, 3) Be self-centered, caring little about others, and last {Most important}… 4) Care little about God’s will, glory, or His Name.

Jesus says in Mt 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Then in Mt 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What is righteousness, what is our treasure? It is an ethic and conduct consistent with God’s character. Righteousness is keeping God’s commands. Righteousness is a passion to be more like Jesus every day. It is saying, doing, and living by faith in Christ. It is a mind and heart that seeks God’s holiness and godliness. It is a life filled with the Spirit. It is a life growing in the fruit of the Spirit. Righteousness is marked by: Loving God… Glorifying God… Submission to God.

Given our text, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” can we identify if WE “hunger and thirst for righteousness?” A few questions…

“What do you think about when you have nothing to think about? What dominates your mind most (At the end of the day)? What are you most protective of? What angers you most when threatened?” Tim Keller suggests that the answers to those questions reveal to us what is really important to us. He suggests the answers help identify our functional god (Little “G”).

So what is important? Strip away the window dressing… get down to brass tacks and there we find our heart’s desire. We must examine what our energy, money, & time are devoted to Monday to Saturday! By evaluating what is most on our mind we can begin to understand what we hunger for…

Is it things? People? Possessions? Personal desires? Reputation? Ask: “Do I think most about things… what people think… my health… what I (!) want? OR… About knowing Jesus… becoming more like Him… Honoring God… being loving, gracious, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, and patient? Let’s reflect just a moment from the Psalms for help…

42:1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 63:1 O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You… 84:2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Is that us? Is our relationship to and with God that important? Consider Hebrews 2:1, “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Then 2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you… unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

What is “The Test?” Conversion accompanied by perseverance in the faith with spiritual growth (Matthew 24:13; 2 Peter 1:5-8a). When we examine our life… What do we hunger & thirst for? Boil it down… what do we desire most… ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE??

The rub is unless GOD reveals to us the condition of our heart we will not see it rightly! Without God’s revelation we are blind to our condition! Consider two who were blind and one who wasn’t.

In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus tells a parable you know. It is about a rich man who’s crop storage was lacking. So he decided to build bigger barns to relax. Then Jesus said in Luke 12:20, “’Fool! This night your soul is required of you, & the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself & is not rich toward God.” (Who doesn’t hunger & thirst for Him)

What does it profit a man if he gains the world & loses his soul?” (Luke 9:25). When it comes to our relationship to God, nothing in this world matters! Naked we are born and naked we die (Ecclesiastes 5:15). So what (!) if we have the world but are not rich toward God?!

Mark 10:17-22. Consider the Rich Young Ruler. He asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments: Don’t murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, defraud others, and honor his father & mother. (Jesus left out several: Have no gods before God, Keep the Sabbath, don’t covet).

The man said he’d kept them all. Then Jesus said: “Sell everything you have… give it to the poor… and follow me.” What did the young man do & why? He left… because he had many possessions.

Their heart hunger didn’t include God. It was self-centered. What does it profit us to exchange Christ for earthly things that will perish? What does it matter if we live 100 years as a “good” person but enters eternity lacking… as Belshazzar did (Handwriting on the wall)? “You have been weighed & found lacking.” (Dan 5:24-28). Now a positive example. Philippians 3:4-11…

If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things & count them as RUBBISH, in order that I may gain Christ 9 & 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… 10 that I may know Him & the power of His resurrection, & may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul stated if anyone could boast, he could (vs 4-6). His confidence was Religion. But he realized nothing was worth keeping but losing Christ. Paul gladly gave up all he had to gain Christto be like Himto suffer with Jesus. Paul hungered and thirsted for righteousness… for God… to know Jesus! What about us? Are we there? Have we closely evaluated our own life in these terms??

What in our lives hinders a closer relationship with Jesus? Not only that, if/when we recognize barriers (We ALL have them), are we willing to address them as Paul did?

Paul “Hungered and thirsted for righteousness.” To him, everything else was rubbish (Full translation: BARNYARD DUNG!). Nothing was more important than being like Jesus. Is that us? Do we hunger and thirst for Christ? Are we more concerned with God than anything or anyone else? Consider God’s perspective as found in Jeremiah 2:12

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, 13 for My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

(Jesus; John 7:37) If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 He said about the Spirit…

This is clear: God is the ONLY source of eternal hope. To ignore God THROUGH CHRIST is a failure of cosmic proportions. Nothing compares AND is why there is eternal punishment.

Remember Jesus in Matthew 5 is DESCRIBING His followers. Those who are His WILL hunger & thirst for HIM. THAT will result in evidences of salvation. Works don’t BRING salvation, works are the RESULT OF salvation. There is a difference!

When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person there hope. ALL who are saved WILL hunger & thirst for more of Jesus! WILL!! (Pause)

So where are we? What is most important to us? Do we HUNGER AND THIRST for God?

Prayer: God help us! Open our eyes that we may see You. Give us ears to hear You. Help us that we may hunger and thirst for You… Love You… Honor You… and glorify Your name!

(Picture Credit)