Dedicated to helping you purposefully live the life God planned for you
When is the last time you heard a child say, “I can’t wait to grow up so I can [fill in the blank]?” No matter how old they are, kids are usually anxious to grow up. They always want to be able to do what the older kids do.
Even adults want to be like someone they see as having a better life or someone whose achievements they admire.
From an early age, we strive to be like someone else or like our future selves.
Jesus wants us to know what it will be like when we leave this world and grow into our eternal selves. He said we will someday be like him. Not like little gods, but pure and righteous as he is. Jesus wants us to desire that life and pursue righteousness now.
In the fourth Beatitude, he says we will be blessed if we “hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6 NIV).” He promised that, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, our hunger will be filled.
The “Life Application Bible Commentary for Matthew” says, “The words “hunger and thirst” picture intense longings that people desire to satisfy—necessities that they cannot live without.”
King David understood what it meant to hunger and thirst for righteousness. In Psalm 42:1-2, he compared it to a dear panting for water.
Our home is located at the edge of a heavily wooded area where deer and other animals are plentiful. My understanding is that dear pant like dogs to cool their bodies. They do not have sweat glands like humans to expel body heat. They pant for water because their body depends on water just like the human body needs water. The longer they are away from water, the more they pant as they struggle to cool their body.
In the same way, when we are not in close fellowship with God, our souls yearn for Him. I had this experience earlier in my life.
I was exposed to enough scripture to lead me to Jesus when I was young. I experienced the scripture’s living water. During my high school and college years, I usually kept a Bible next to my bed. However, I did not have anyone in my life who encouraged me to read the Bible. I was running through a torrid life, unable to see God even when God was looking down on me and protecting me the whole time.
Since I no longer had the companionship of other people who followed Jesus or a daily Bible reading habit, I did not experience the relationship I once had with God. I had an unfulfilled thirst and didn’t know the cause. I tried to fill that thirst with worldly pursuits but my thirst was never fulfilled.
When David was exiled from his kingdom, he felt the same way. In Psalm 42, he said that he remembers the days when he poured out his heart to God (Psalm 42:4). At this time in his life, he was exiled from Jerusalem by his son Absolom and not able to go to the temple where he communicated deeply with God. He was not experiencing the same relationship he once had with God.
My thirst was quenched after college when I started spending time with God daily. I read scripture and listened to good bible teachers to hear God speak to me. I prayed to speak to Him. Like a dear who had been running for days, I finally found a stream of water that satisfied my thirst.
When Jesus told us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6 NIV), he probably meant that if you are filled with God, you seek to completely live his will. Jesus was the only one to completely live God’s will. The only way to experience the blessings God promised for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness is to pursue the life and teachings of Jesus and live like Jesus.
What are you doing to pursue the life and teachings of Jesus?
How can you develop a hunger and thirst for righteousness today?