"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
In our food and drink saturated world, hunger and thirst are almost trivial. I mean, we get hungry and we get thirsty, but we’re not starving. Many of us could catch ourselves saying “I’m starving” when really we’re just wanting something to fill a regularly supplied stomach. True starvation would shock us and humiliate us.
"I'm thristy. What should I get to drink? Well, I could have water, but there is also milk, or iced tea. Maybe I'll have orange juice, or should I mix some lemonade?"
Those are just some of the choices I often have at my house. And I’m sure your house is the same. When you say, “I’m thirsty,” it is usually a trivial thirst, a thirst that is easily quenched by whatever beverage you prefer. It is not a genuine, deep-inside-you, dryness that longs to be satisfied because you are so parched. Most of us hardly ever experience dehydration that genuinely requires water to replenish our depleted systems. It is only when we have truly pushed our bodies far beyond their normal operations that we experience genuine thirst. When I do, water is the only thing that will truly satisfy.
You know, most of us live our Christian lives as if we had a refrigerator full of choices for what will satisfy our souls. And that is because we live as if our spiritual lives are so cozy and comfortable that life’s choices really don’t matter. It is like going to the refrigerator to browse our choices rather than genuinely craving water because if we don’t get water we would shrivel up to nothing.
We say, "It doesn't matter that I give into this or that sin every now and then." "I want to learn how to live for God, but I only need to look at my Bible once every few weeks." "I'll get around to praying regularly one of these days." "I'm okay trusting in my own strengths."
When we approach our Christian life with such a lazy, laid-back attitude, we are forgetting that life is nothing without Christ. A refrigerator-choices-approach to the Christian life forgets that Christ and his way (his righteousness) are the only source of genuine satisfaction for our hunger and thirst. We must realize that we are parched and starving without Christ. We are dehydrated and unable to endure the hardships of life unless we seek Christ and his righteousness as our sustenance.
When we realize that our spiritual hunger and thirst will only be satisfied by living rightly, living for Christ, that is when we truly will begin to live. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6). True satisfaction is only found in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Crave that.
Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” The Psalmist feels a lack of closeness with God and he longs to have the closeness that he had experienced earlier in his life restored. The Psalmist uses “thirst” as a way of saying that something is missing in his relationship with God (read verses 3-10), so he feels downcast and disturbed. But notice that he doesn’t give up on his relationship with God just because he feels downcast. He reminds himself to “put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5).
The Psalmist knows what needs to happen in order to be restored to the closeness he longs for. He knows what will satisfy his thirst. God himself is what will satisfy his thirst. He knows he needs to go to “meet with God” (Psalm 42:2) and he asks God to “send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me” (Psalm 43:3). His thirst will only be truly satisfied when he keeps his hope in God, when he pursues the light of God’s truth, when he let’s God’s Word guide his life (see also Psalm 19:7-14 that describes the effect God’s Word can have on our lives).
Our hunger and thirst in life can only be truly satisfied when we crave what only God can give us. Crave him and his truth.