The Beatitudes: Day 5

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

by

Today's Text: Matthew 5:6, Matthew 7:7-11, Romans 9:3-33, Romans 10:1-4, Psalm 17:15

Text: Matthew 5:6, Matthew 7:7-11, Romans 9:3-33, Romans 10:1-4, Psalm 17:15

We can’t get Harvey to stop eating green acorns in the backyard. Yes, specifically the green ones, and no, his stomach does not agree.

The main reason our goldendoodle puppy keeps finding acorns is because, well, it’s fall and they’re everywhere. He sniffs them out with the same tenacity I use when looking for a stray piece of gum in my purse. Before you know it, he’s crunch-crunch-crunching away. Again.

We’ve scolded him repeatedly, enrolled him in puppy school, and used lots of bribery. But when it’s not green acorns, he’s gnawing anything from a wooden armchair to a human hand, and at that point, I’ll take the pesky acorn any day. All the while, he ignores his full bowl of dog food, and although I haven’t tasted it myself, I’ll bet it tastes better than all those other things. When will he learn to eat the right things?

Better yet, when will we?

I’m hungry all the time. Of course, my stomach rumbles when I don’t eat breakfast or eye the pint of ice cream in the fridge, but it’s even more frequent than that—I’m ravenous for approval, control, love, and fulfillment. Instagram likes, friendly compliments, and foolproof plans are my foods of choice. Before I know it, I’m crunch-crunch-crunching away. Again.

But even after gorging myself, I am still unsatisfied and on to trying the next thing. Anybody else? Friends, we, too, are missing the satisfaction already set out for us—in Christ.

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

I tend to picture the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness as a total kill-joy, as if this verse is telling them—and us—to go on a strict righteousness cleanse. But it’s not! No, it’s  inviting us into something so much better. Paul explains the distinction like this: “Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:3-4).

If we are left to feed on our own righteousness, we will starve. But when we feed on the righteousness of Christ, we will be satisfied. On the cross, Jesus knew He was the only thing that would satisfy, and even in our longings today, it still rings true. We cannot create or earn righteousness on our own; we can only partake in the gift of His.

In contrast to our worldly desires that leave us longing and hungry for more, our satisfaction in Christ only increases with our hunger for Him. The more we seek first the kingdom of God, the more we will be fulfilled by His goodness—a taste of eternal satisfaction in the life to come. 

“But I will see Your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.”
- Psalm 17:15

SRT-Beatitudes-Instagram5s

  • I landed on this devotion at the beginning of a fast. How incredibly appropriate and what a centering way to start!

  • It’s difficult to read this particular post. I have my different cravings to be sure, and I’m not about to claim that I’ve become solid in searching and striving for the Living God. Blessed is He who made salvation possible to the Gentiles!! Still, something aches on a much deeper level; my heart hurts for my family who have sought their own righteousness according the law – according to Torah. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with this new and destructive path of seeking righteousness; perhaps it’s most common to those who pursue our beautiful God online only. Some YouTubers, facebookers, Twitterers, etc., use much of Scripture against Scripture. Those who watch/read and cease to study God’s holy word for themselves relinquish the “sweetness” they have tasted in the Savior prior, and make for themselves a well-diluted doctrine contrasting the message of the Gospel of Christ.
    I look at passages given today and, though the Lord steadies my soul in His rest and complete satisfaction right now, I find I feel the same way Paul did when talking of his fellow countrymen and potential heirs, the Jews. And why forsake the promise according to faith? Why seek your own righteousness according to the law? Our enemy knows that as humans, some of us have an overdeveloped sense of zeal – zeal for performance. Zeal for the checklist, the to-do’s, and the accomplishment thereof. Zeal… But not according to knowledge.
    I love the passage from the Psalmist: “But I will see Your face in righteousness;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.”

  • I’m SO ravenous for approval! I feel you on that one. And I constantly forget I have the unconditional love and approval of our great God. I need to rest in that. Because seeking the approval of others is exhausting. I can’t keep up with all the striving. It’s burning me out.
    Jesus, give me rest in you. Make me to be satisfied with who you are and what you have given me.

  • Father, thank you for waking me up this beautiful morning. “Laat mij, recht gedaan, uw gelaat aanschouwen, bij het ontwaken mij verzadigen aan uw beeld.”
    Too often, yesterday night too I fall alsleep with the unsatified feelings that I do not reach as many limes as friends have, do not have a fancy fun job (but a serieus on for your church), i doubt if I van keep up with my international friends etc etc

    But then is You, You alone! Who wakes me up with your words, telling me that none of deeds , but only my Faith, hope and love in you will safe me from the unsatisfied world I grow up in. Thank you my Saviour of my soul.

    Pray that we all may find and send encouragment today. In Jesus name, amen

  • Me too. So much to process. I’m glad it’s the weekend so I can go back over the beatitudes (spell check had a hard time with that word) we’ve studied so far and glean more. I can’t get enough. Thank you to all who shared this past week. Blessings dear sisters.

  • Really needed this tonight! Thank you so much for sharing! It spoke volumes to me❤️

  • Jess Gardiner

    “He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich He has sent away hungry.” Luke 1:53

  • I have been guilty so many times in my life of seeking attention though the internet. And I am sad to admit that most of my relationships in the past seemed to be built around this need for attention as well. But what I have found as I am beginning to get old is that my reason for needing attention is changing and becoming, in some ways, less selfish. I find that when i write a blog post or share something it’s more to connect with others or share with them what I am capable of to make connections with others. There are fewer selfies and less garbage and more to SHARE. Now in terms of hungering for faith and Christ, my well has been dry for a while now, but the mustard seed inside of me has caused me to reach out and seek for inspiration. I realized that it is ok to questions certain things about religions (worship or organ music? immersion baptism or sprinkling, baptizing as a baby or as an adult? etc. etc. etc!) and that it is ok to not be very good at studying the bible. These things come with hungering and seeking for Christ and the Word!

  • Jess Gardiner

    I am ravenously hungry for so many things. I gorge on love, approval, beauty and feeling enough. I feel intense shame for these strong hungers. But this devotion just changed my perspective. When those hungers come knocking, I don’t need to despair or be ashamed. They are an invitation to turn from the junk food that harms to the soul-nourishment that heals and brings life. Those hungers are a blessing that remind me of my desperate need for Christ and His delight to satisfy me and wrap me up in His love and care. Praise Jesus! His invitation is so gentle and sweet <3

  • I love this analogy because I too am physically hungry all the time. What a beautiful reminder of seeking Jesus to fulfill all of our hunger pains.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Christine

    SRT ladies – I needed this study. It could not be more timely for me. I am so thankful for this ministry God has given you, and all the hard work and love you pour into it every day. The Lord has opened my eyes and blessed me in so many ways through your studies and this community for over two years now! Wow, I didn’t even realize it had been that long until I just checked! So anyway, I just wanted to say thank you!! God Bless you!

  • I love the shift from focusing on our Righteousness to being satisfied with Christ’s. So good!

  • Today I could see how in a lot of ways, the Beatitudes really build on each other. I love that. Thanks SRT!

  • I am guilty of these desires. May I change to find total satisfaction in Christ alone.

  • two other verses come to mind…

    psalm 90:14 satisfies us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may be glad and sing for joy all our days.

    psalm 23…the part about God setting a table before us

  • Oh wow. This one was written for me. Thank you SRT. But even more, thank you Jesus for choosing me!

  • Thank you for this message and all your helpful comments this morning!!

  • What a great reminder that our satisfaction in Christ only increases with our hunger for him. I’m so thankful that I have nothing to offer God, but that the righteousness of Christ is fully mine through faith. Thank you for another great devotional!

  • I needed to hear this today. Thanks SRT for this reminder to just be satisfied with where the Lord has me right now and to rest in His righteousness.

  • churchmouse

    Love the gratitude guide included in the Bible study book today – especially as Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner. And today’s devotion… If He didn’t give me one earthly blessing (and I’ve listed oh so many in the guide), if all Jesus ever did was save me, that would be enough. In my desiring more, in my dissatisfaction, I’m minimizing what Jesus did on the cross for me. May that never be!

    • Debbie

      Amen! May we be satisfied in Him alone!

      • Ashley

        Amen! Love this. You have summarized it well for me. We hunger for so many different types of things in life, but Jesus gave us the ultimate satisfaction. When we think of the things that we want and shouldn’t or can’t have we can turn to this idea to remember where we stand on Earth and in Heaven.

  • This was such a HUGE issue for me when I was younger. Oh, when I think of all the meaningless hurt I inflicted upon myself. My mother-in-law is a potter and many years ago she began making clay plaques with scripture on them. For my birthday one year she gave me one that says, “do you seek the approval of man or God?” I hung it in my bathroom where it is still today. It’s a daily reminder that my goal, everyday, should be His approval. Just being aware that worldly approval was an issue for me has truly helped me to be able to find my true worth in God. I still struggle with acceptance sometimes, but I have learned that who I am is enough. That belief allows more of my focus to instead be on God and his will.

    • Ashley

      I love this so much, “Do you seek the approval of man or God?”. What powerful words. We all realize that much of what we do in our daily lives requires us to sell ourselves, in the sense that we are our own brand and we must impress people to a certain extent; job interviews, blog posts, making new friends. Do we realize whether or not this is something favorable to God? Is what we are doing flirting with an addiction to attention? If you run a blog it is your job to sell your blog and impress people in some way, you have to have fans in order to be successful. But is the way in which you are doing this glorifying God? Some great food for thought!

  • I love that in our reading today the verse on hungering and thirsting for righteousness is followed by the one that says, “ask and you shall receive.” We can be confident that a prayer asking for more of His righteousness, even more hunger for His righteousness, will be fulfilled because it is absolutely according to His will. Sometimes I get frustrated that I don’t see other petitions answered, but often they are rooted in my hunger for other things. I recently experienced first hand God’s mercy in answering my desperate prayer to have my joy in Him restored, even while other seemingly good requests remain unanswered. And, I find I satisfied in Him and delighted that He gave what I asked: more desire for Him and His righteousness. Thank you Jesus!

  • “We cannot create or earn righteousness on our own; we can only partake in the gift of His.”
    So often I feel that I must have done something wrong along the way because I feel like my life is so plain. I’m not artistic, I can’t pull off a stylish hat, and my job isn’t world-changing. But these desires are rooted in a need for my own righteousness. Remembering this morning that I am just meant to partake in God’s righteousness.

  • Jeremiah 29:13 “When you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me.”

  • Sara B. Stacy

    I was thinking on what I choose to feast on-the junk food the world sells me in approval and worth with false promises of lasting when Christ is there with a full table of righteousness laid out for me. That it is my choice daily to snack, gorge and still not be full on the world’s deceits…or to choose the feast already prepared by Christ, where all my hunger and thirst will be fulfilled with the good things He has given.

    • Robin W.

      This reminds me of Deuteronomy 30:19: 19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

    • Ronda Slay

      “… and Christ is there with a full table of righteousness” !!!
      Oh how that thought overwhelms me with gratefulness but also brings tears to my eyes that I so often look elsewhere for my righteousness.
      May I keep my eyes on JESUS and that full table!!!

  • My associate pastor preached once about how we cannot be hungry and thirsty for righteousness, when we are already full of other desires – and that message has always stuck with me. I like how the author talked about the things she feasts on – eye opening. Lord, I pray for a hunger for your Word and for your presence everyday, that’s greater than anything my flesh may desire.

Further Reading...