A Desperate Longing

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

As someone whose unofficial love language is to be fed when I’m hungry, any pieces of Scripture that have to do with being filled or satisfied always make me feel the love of God. A fear I often struggle with is that I won’t have enough or that I will be left lacking in some way, because I have seen the goodness of God and never want to be without it. The wonderful thing about what Jesus says in Matthew 5:6 is that when the thing we most desire is more of God in our lives, we will never be left with less than satisfaction. 

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’”- Jeremiah 23:5-6

To me, to hunger and thirst after righteousness means to desperately long for more of God in your life: more of his will, more of his Spirit in you, more of your thoughts to be aligned with his thoughts. To desire the righteousness of God is to desire that more of God’s holy will would be displayed on earth, primarily through you and the way you live. I think to hunger and thirst for righteousness is also to acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than ours. Seeking to live as he would have us live is to live by righteousness, because God’s ways are truly right and just. Being righteous is typically defined as “right standing with God.” This is why sacrifices were required in the Old Testament to atone for sin, so that the people could gain back the righteousness that was tainted. But the beautiful thing about Jesus’ sacrifice is this: he made the final sacrifice to atone for all of our sin so that we could live forever in the presence of God. Now we have righteousness through faith, as Paul writes in Romans 3:21-26: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace a as gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

When we long for righteousness, that doesn’t mean we have to be perfect and righteous in ourselves. Jesus made a way for us to be clothed in his righteousness because of God’s gift of grace. Desiring the righteousness of God means wanting to look more and more like Jesus every day, because in him we receive our righteousness. And when we long to look more like Jesus, God says we will always be satisfied; where our satisfaction comes from is not where the world is going to seek it, and it probably won’t look like the things of this world either. But, because of God’s grace and mercy, we can trust that his satisfaction is one that is complete and without end. 

Author | Katie Pitner

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