The fourth blessed attitude is in Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”
Take a look back at Matthew 5 and you will see that the beatitudes come in pairs. We mourn while we learn to be poor in spirit. We will hunger and thirst for righteousness as we become meek, surrendered to Jesus’s Lordship. Righteousness means doing what is right. To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to change our desires, wanting only God’s plan for our life and world.
In Acts 9, Paul became meek on the Road to Damascus: He called Jesus “Lord” and asked what his Lord wanted him to do. He illustrated meekness while also showing hunger and a thirst for righteousness.
The fourth blessed attitude is in Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus entered the Temple to throw out the money changers and dove sellers, who were there taking advantage of the poor. He announced verses from the Old Testament as He turned their tables over, showing us His submission to His Father’s will and His passion to see God’s Righteousness and Justice be done.
The promise that comes with this Beatitude is that followers of Jesus will be filled full with that same righteousness. From the rest of scripture, we know that this also means they will be filled completely with the Holy Spirit of God, Who is Righteousness, and Who guides us.
This Beatitude is not “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after happiness for they shall be made very happy.” It is not, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after prosperity, for they shall be very prosperous.” The beatitude is, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” And the promise is that they shall be filled full of rightness and a passion to do what is right and just. This call to personal integrity and righteousness points out one reason why so much of the world, those people at the bottom of the mountain during the Sermon on the Mount, is unhappy and empty: people do what seems right enough to them instead of what IS good and right to God.
In Isaiah 61:3 the people of God are to be called “Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Jesus teaches us that God wants to plant His disciples like trees of righteousness, displaying the glory of God. The fruit that comes out of our humble lives will be His righteousness.
What are the things in your life which keep you from seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? What challenges do you face as you try to live a righteous life? What does God want you to do with these challenges?
Please take this moment to pray: Father God, I submit to you. I want my desires to match Yours. I want to do the right thing in my heart, my thoughts, my family, and my work. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and show me how to act for Your Justice and Righteousness. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
This post is adapted from a lesson of the Mini Bible College, an online study of the whole Bible. We highly recommend their audio resources and written materials, available in many languages, to anyone who wants a stronger understanding of the Bible.