How many of us or how often have we felt genuine hunger? If we understand hunger what does it mean to ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness?’ We should want to know, as there is a blessing attached to it.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
The pronounced blessing is that our hunger and thirst shall be satisfied. A key factor here is the tense. In a literal translation the tense reads as hungering and thirsting. The idea being that we do not eat or drink once and remain satiated. Just as we naturally need to eat and drink each day to maintain our physical body, so too we need to spiritually eat and drink each day. Jesus says our hungering and thirsting is to be for righteousness. Given that, understanding righteousness will help us to direct our hunger and thirst. So what are we being directed to in Matthew?
δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē noun, Righteousness, equity, justice.
The New Testament concept of justice is remote from the Greek doctrine of virtue and also from the Jewish concept of earning righteousness through keeping the Law. The term dikaiosunē is applied both to God and to people in the New Testament. In reference to people it is concerned with the imputed righteousness “in Christ” and the practical righteousness of everyday living and conduct.
Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The
The Greek word for righteousness is the one above, and as it states, we have an imputed righteousness by virtue of our relationship with Jesus that produces a practical righteousness in our conduct. What the definition does not address is that we also have an imparted righteousness, Jesus nature in our reborn spirit, which needs to be made manifest in our soul. This is what produces a practical righteousness, holiness. How do we walk in it?
One way is to satisfy our hunger and thirst each morning by sitting with Jesus with the fixed intention of encountering Him and knowing His heart. This expectation of encountering Him is a demonstration of faith. We can have communion with Him each morning, with or without the elements. The external elements merely symbolize an internal reality.
The Quakers, or Society of Friends, have been part of the broader Christian landscape since the mid-17th century and their practice is to have communion not via external elements but via sitting with Jesus and experiencing His presence. This is available to all of us as believers. We simply need to make the choice and sit with Him, He is available.
I am convinced through practice that getting up and sitting with Jesus is the best way to start each day. To make it more effective it is best if it spills over into the rest of the day. Develop the habit of pausing and looking to Jesus at various points throughout the day and He will begin to spill over into all of your day. This is the practical application of hungering and thirsting. Not the expectation of some magical download that will change our life; rather the cultivation of a habit that shapes our eternal destiny!