“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6
A few years ago, I had the privilege of going to Egypt on a short-term missions trip through my church. The trip was filled with incredible moments and countless stories that could be shared, but one of the things that stands out to me from my time there was the passage of Scripture that we studied as a team each day. We read through Matthew 5, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. My heart was transformed each morning as we met to have our time of prayer and devotions, and I’ve been drawn back to this passage regularly since. The above verse in particular has had tremendous impact on my understanding of faith. I want to share with you some of the things that God has laid on my heart, some of the truths that He has impressed in my mind, and some of the practical ways that I’ve been able to apply these convictions.
There are some questions that I wrestled with as I really took the time to study this verse. What does it look like to live a blessed life? I mean, the kind of blessing that God extends from His hand that transforms our lives in such a way that we find contentment? I’m not referring to happiness – an emotion that is often dependent upon outward circumstances. I’m not suggesting material blessing either. “Blessed” here is referring to a spiritual joy that is known by those who share in the salvation that only Jesus Christ can offer. Do I know this kind of blessed? Do you? This is a joy that can be had amidst difficulty. It’s a lasting joy, a fullness, and it’s what God intends for His children. How can I have this kind of blessed life that this verse speaks of? True blessing and satisfaction is granted to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The words in this verse on their own are not difficult to understand. Yet when put together, they have profound impact. Allow me to elaborate. The word hunger for instance means a strong or compelling desire or craving, the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food. Thirst has a similar definition: a strong or eager desire or craving caused by the need of liquid. Hunger and thirst are not things I think about often, probably because I’m never desperate for either. They are needs that are immediately met whenever they arise. It’s interesting though how this verse was brought back to my mind just a few weeks ago. My husband and I spent a weekend away up at his family’s cabin in the mountains. It’s a beautifully peaceful place of retreat for us, and we love every opportunity we get to spend time there. If you know me at all, you know that I’m not much of a wilderness girl. I’m most comfortable in the noise and chaos of a bustling city, but I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone when my man is involved. He loves the outdoors – hiking, camping, fishing, etc. So, I took this opportunity to fill his love tank and agreed to go on a short hike with him through the woods. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 70s. Since we only planned to be gone for about 30-45 minutes, we thought one water bottle each would suffice. Well, along the way we decided to be ambitious and take the trail we were hiking until it ended. We didn’t realize that it was about 5 miles to the end, totaling a 10 mile round trip hike! Needless to say, thirst became an issue. We finished both of our water bottles with miles still left to hike. I was so thirsty. My fingers started to swell to the point that I couldn’t move my wedding ring. Being the mountain man that my husband is, he wasn’t worried in the least. He began to talk of ways to purify the water in the mud puddles we were passing if it came to that. I was not amused. All I could think about was the cool, refreshing water back at the cabin that I was dying to drink. We made it back to the cabin, and water was the only thing on my mind. I think I guzzled a gallon of water in a matter of minutes. I was desperate to quench my thirst. This triggered my memory back to this verse. How much do I thirst for the things of God? Do I even thirst to such a degree that I’m desperate for Him like I was desperate for that water? Is my life characterized by a hunger and thirst for righteousness?
We were created with basic needs – food, water, and shelter are a few. We were also created to be in relationship with our Creator. When that relationship is not tended, when it’s starved, joy and satisfaction seem to vanish. There’s an emptiness, a void. We were never meant to live outside of that relationship with God. When we try to, we lack the blessing this verse describes. Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t think about going without food and water for a day or even days on end. So, why do not think twice about going without our spiritual food? Daily time with God is vital to our faith. It’s our sustenance. When we attempt to go without it, we proceed to live powerless lives, constantly craving but never truly satisfied. More than once God has taught me this hard lesson. I must be in regular communication and fellowship with the Lord. I need His Word. I need to read it, to meditate on it, to memorize it. I need time in prayer. This is how God speaks to me. I find it best when I start my day with God. Prioritizing Him in my day results in my day being blessed and my mind being filled with truth. Prayer throughout the day is crucial. Prayer was never intended to be just 30 seconds before meals and a quick closing to your day before you fall asleep. Prayer is a lifestyle, it’s a conversation with God that’s is meant to be continuous. Pray without ceasing. As these things become more of a consistent reality in my life, I experience satisfying joy.
It’s always incredible when I come across a promise in God’s Word. In this case, it’s a promise of His blessing and our satisfaction if we choose to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Being reminded of what is available to me as I walk in obedience with God is what I need to propel me forward in my faith. Blessed are those…are you one of them?