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What Does it Mean to Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

What Does it Mean to Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

"If you do right, you won't get hungry or thirsty," says Zach, age 6.

Actually, the thirst here is something different, says Anna, 10: "It means that people who want righteousness thirst for it like water."

Have you ever been thirsty -- I mean really thirsty?

In the Arizona desert, I once took a walk I'll never forget. From my elevated campsite, the Colorado River looked like an easy 30-minute trek. I learned the meaning of "as the crow flies" because the dry ravine I followed was anything but straight and made the trip much longer. After my canteen ran dry, I began to be thirsty like never before.

God will quench the thirst of those who desire him as a man walking in the Arizona desert with a dry canteen craves water. There's nothing casual about this kind of thirst. It's desperate.

"I think it means when Jesus was at the well and told the lady about everlasting water," says Lauren, 8, "she took the water and was satisfied."

Yes, the woman at the well with whom Jesus spoke had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband, yet Jesus doesn't give her a lecture on immorality. He spoke to her about her thirst (John 4:14).

"If we try to gain transcendence through indulgence, soon enough familiarity breeds contempt and we are driven to search for mystery elsewhere," write authors Brent Curtis and John Eldredge in an amazing book titled The Sacred Romance.

"To thirst after righteousness means wanting to live according to God's will instead of the world's," says Kristen, 10. "This is the only way to be happy and filled. If you thirst after righteousness, God will bless you."

"You are what you desire to eat! There's a God-shaped hole in all of us that only God can fill."

Yes, God is in the filling business. In fact, the word "fill" means to be satisfied in the sense of being stuffed after a sumptuous meal.

If you're eating the junk food of the self-centered life, you'll never be satisfied. The hungry and thirsty are the desperate of the previous Beatitudes (the poor in spirit, the mournful and the meek).

"It means if you thirst after righteousness, you want to live a godly life," says Morgan, 10. "It also means you would act like God would want you to live."

"There is only One Being who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ," wrote author Oswald Chambers.

God doesn't ask us to deny our burning desire for intimacy, beauty and adventure. Religion does that. Jesus invites us to intimate communion with himself and his Father that satisfies the deepest longings of our souls.

Jesus upset the religious system of his day by awakening the desires of people's hearts. Consider his statement: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9).

It's whom you ask, where you seek and what door you knock on that makes all the difference. A journey into God himself makes every other adventure look dull.

"Those who thirst after righteousness will be filled with it," says Nick, 10. "They will be blessed with love from God."

Point to ponder: God will satisfy your deepest desires if you look to him for fulfillment.

Scripture to remember: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Question to consider: Where are you looking to satisfy your deepest desires and longings?

Inspire your children by reading this column with them and visiting the Kids Talk About God web site at Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

© 2004 Carey Kinsolving